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.

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 July 28, 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 July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) — A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) — Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) — The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. 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