Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Jefferson Scientists Use Computer Model To Show Cancer May Be A Stem Cell Disorder

Date:
December 3, 2001
Source:
Thomas Jefferson University
Summary:
Cancer may be a disease of stem cells gone awry. Researchers at Jefferson Medical College have developed a computer model showing that a form of inherited colon cancer, familial adenomatous polyposis, or FAP, may begin when processes that regulate adult stem cells in the colon go out of control.

Cancer may be a disease of stem cells gone awry.

Researchers at Jefferson Medical College have developed a computer model showing that a form of inherited colon cancer, familial adenomatous polyposis, or FAP, may begin when processes that regulate adult stem cells in the colon go out of control.

If the model is correct, it may explain how cancer begins and may suggest a potential target at which to aim drugs to stop it.

"This model suggests that the change in cell growth patterns that represents the initiation stage of colorectal cancer is due to an increase in the number of stem cells in the colon epithelium," says Bruce M. Boman, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Genetic and Preventive Medicine at Jefferson Medical College and director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Program at the Kimmel Cancer Center of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, who led the work.

"This provides evidence that an increase in the number of stem cells triggers colon cancer," says Dr. Boman. "The broad implication is that cancer may be a stem cell disorder."

Dr. Boman and his co-workers report their work December 1 in the journal Cancer Research.

Stem cells that lie in the bottom of tiny "crypts" in the epithelium of the normal colon produce daughter cells that proliferate, eventually making their way to the top and differentiating into specialized colon cells. According to Dr. Boman, colon cancer initiation in FAP, on the other hand, is marked by a change in the pattern of proliferating daughter cells. Namely, the cell proliferation zone shifts from the bottom toward the top of the crypt. But characterizing the cellular mechanisms that underlie this change in cell growth has been difficult.

Dr. Boman and his co-workers studied data regarding the proliferative change that occurs in FAP colon tissue when cancer begins. "The tissue appears normal in patients with an inherited mutation in the APC gene, which is the gene altered in FAP," he says. "But when you label the cells in the colon epithelium, there is a shift in the proliferative zone from the lower crypt to the top of the crypt." Sporadic colon cancers have the same mutation as the hereditary form of the disease.

"This genetic change they carry is the initiating event that triggers colon cancer," Dr. Boman says of the APC mutation. "No one can explain how the tissue change - normal to cancer - occurs on the basis of the genetic change. We set out to explain the cellular mechanism involved that might link the two."

Dr. Boman and his co-workers decided to create a computer model because the dynamics of the colonic crypt and colon tissue are complex and standard experimental methods have limitations, he explains. They first developed a computer model that successfully simulated growth patterns in the normal colon. They then changed the model parameters to see if they could get a computer simulation of the proliferative shift in the colon cells that occurs when cancer begins. But this initially proved difficult.

"We changed the rates of the cell cycle, the rate of programmed cell death and other variables but didn't get a fit with what the biological FAP data showed," he says. When they began increasing the number of stem cells at the bottom of the crypt model, they suddenly began to see a shift that mimicked what is seen biologically.

"Now we can use our model to attempt to explain the origin of the first known tissue change in the development of colon cancer."

Boman and his co-workers used FAP as a model because both the genetic and tissue changes are well characterized. FAP is characterized by the formation in early adult life of hundreds to thousands of polyps, or benign tumors, in the colon. These invariably develop into cancer if they are not snipped out. Patients frequently must have their colons removed as well.

The model may be relevant to other cancers - including other hereditary cancers, he notes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Thomas Jefferson University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Thomas Jefferson University. "Jefferson Scientists Use Computer Model To Show Cancer May Be A Stem Cell Disorder." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011203061000.htm>.
Thomas Jefferson University. (2001, December 3). Jefferson Scientists Use Computer Model To Show Cancer May Be A Stem Cell Disorder. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011203061000.htm
Thomas Jefferson University. "Jefferson Scientists Use Computer Model To Show Cancer May Be A Stem Cell Disorder." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011203061000.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins