Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A New Link Between Stem Cells And Tumors

Date:
September 5, 2005
Source:
European Molecular Biology Laboratory
Summary:
Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg and the Institute of Biomedical Research of the Parc Científic de Barcelona (IRB-PCB) have now added key evidence to claims that some types of cancer originate with defects in stem cells. The study, reported this week in the on-line edition of Nature Genetics (September 4) shows that if key molecules aren't placed in the right locations within stem cells before they divide, the result can be deadly tumors.

Left: Normal dividing neuroblasts create a large new cell and a smaller cell destined to become part of a nerve. Right: If molecules aren't put in the right places, this asymmetric division doesn't occur and a tumor develops.
Credit: Image courtesy of European Molecular Biology Laboratory

Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) inHeidelberg and the Institute of Biomedical Research of the ParcCientífic de Barcelona (IRB-PCB) have now added key evidence to claimsthat some types of cancer originate with defects in stem cells. Thestudy, reported this week in the on-line edition of Nature Genetics(September 4) shows that if key molecules aren't placed in the rightlocations within stem cells before they divide, the result can bedeadly tumors.

Related Articles


Cells in the very early embryo are interchangeable and undergorapid division. Soon, however, they begin differentiating into morespecific types, finally becoming specialized cells like neurons, blood,or muscle. As they differentiate, they should stop dividing and usuallybecome embedded in particular tissues. Some tumor cells are more likestem cells because they are identical, they divide quickly, and in theworst case – metastasize – they wander through the body and implantthemselves in new tissues.

Specialized cells may die through age or injuries, so the bodykeeps stocks of stem cells on hand to generate replacements. Usuallythe stem cell divides into two types: one that is just like the parent,which is kept to maintain the stock, and another that differentiates.This is what happens with neuroblasts. Cell division creates one largeneuroblast and a smaller cell that can become part of a nerve. Thisprocess is controlled by events that happen prior to division. Theparent cell becomes asymmetrical: it collects a set of specialmolecules, including Prospero and other proteins, in the area that willbud off and become the specialized cell.

"This asymmetry provides the new cell with molecules it needsto launch new genetic programs that tell it what to become," saysCayetano González, whose group began the project at EMBL and hascontinued the work as they moved to the IRBB-PCB. "The current studyinvestigates what happens when the process of localizing thesemolecules is disturbed."

Whether Prospero and its partners get to the right placedepends on the activity of specific genes in the stem cell. EMBL PhDstudent Emmanuel Caussinus from González's group created neuroblasts inwhich these genes were disrupted. "We no longer had normal neuroblastsand daughter cells capable of becoming part of a nerve," Caussinussays. "Instead, we had a tumor."

When these altered cells were transplanted into flies, theresults were swift and dramatic. The tissue containing the alteredcells grew to 100 times its initial size; cells invaded other tissues,and death followed. The growing tumor became "immortal", Caussinussays; cells could be retransplanted into new hosts for years,generation after generation, with similar effects.

The study proves that specific genes in stem cells – thosewhich control the fates of daughter cells – are crucial. If such genesare disrupted, the new cells may no longer be able to control theirreproduction, and this could lead to cancer. "It puts the focus on theevents that create asymmetrical collections of molecules inside stemcells," González says. "This suggests new lines of investigation intothe relationship between stem cells and tumors in other model organismsand humans."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Molecular Biology Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Molecular Biology Laboratory. "A New Link Between Stem Cells And Tumors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050905111823.htm>.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory. (2005, September 5). A New Link Between Stem Cells And Tumors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050905111823.htm
European Molecular Biology Laboratory. "A New Link Between Stem Cells And Tumors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050905111823.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Newsy (Oct. 25, 2014) — A Harvard University Research Team created genetically engineered stem cells that are able to kill cancer cells, while leaving other cells unharmed. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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