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Adult stem cells found to suppress cancer while dormant

Date:
December 18, 2013
Source:
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences
Summary:
Understanding stem cell cancer suppression could help create prevention strategies for patients susceptible to squamous skin cancer. New research shows that stem cells cycle between an active and dormant state, and do not develop into cancer while dormant.

Researchers at UCLA's Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research have discovered a mechanism in adult stem cells by which the cells suppress their ability to initiate cancer during their dormant phase, an understanding that could be exploited for better cancer prevention strategies. The study was led by Andrew White, post-doctoral fellow, and William Lowry, associate professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology in the life sciences and the Maria Rowena Ross Term Chair in Cell Biology.

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The study was published online ahead of print in Nature Cell Biology on December 15, 2013. Hair follicle stem cells (HFSC), the tissue-specific adult stem cells that generate the hair follicles, are also the cells of origin for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a common skin cancer. These HFSCs cycle between periods of activation, during which they can grow, and quiescence, when they remain dormant.

Using mouse models, White and Lowry applied known cancer-causing genes (oncogenes) to HFSCs and found that during cell quiescence, the cells could not be made to initiate SCC. Once the HFSC were in their active period, they began growing cancer.

"We found that this tumor suppression via adult stem cell quiescence was mediated by Pten, a gene important in regulating the cell's response to signaling pathways," White said, "therefore, stem cell quiescence is a novel form of tumor suppression in hair follicle stem cells, and Pten must be present for the suppression to work."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences. The original article was written by Shaun Mason. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. C. White, J. K. Khuu, C. Y. Dang, J. Hu, K. V. Tran, A. Liu, S. Gomez, Z. Zhang, R. Yi, P. Scumpia, M. Grigorian, W. E. Lowry. Stem cell quiescence acts as a tumour suppressor in squamous tumours. Nature Cell Biology, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/ncb2889

Cite This Page:

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences. "Adult stem cells found to suppress cancer while dormant." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131218095658.htm>.
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences. (2013, December 18). Adult stem cells found to suppress cancer while dormant. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131218095658.htm
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences. "Adult stem cells found to suppress cancer while dormant." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131218095658.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

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