Archive by category | Cancer

How cancers resist treatment, and more

Here are a couple papers just out in Nature. One, from Mike Clarke of Stanford, shows how human breast cancers resist treatment. I talked to him about how the paper came to be. The other, from Tannishtha Reyes of Duke, finds an alternative pathway to attack resistant leukemia in mice.  Read more

Around the web: some stem cell synopses

Why do I seem to be working harder and harder, but covering less and less? The vast majority of my readers, I’m sure, found the answer long before I did. In the eighteen months since Nature Reports Stem Cells has gone live, stem-cell happening have increased appreciably, inexorably, exhaustingly.  Read more

Cancer stem cells: controversies and misconceptions

Nature recently published a paper by Sean Morrison and others finding that melanoma stem cells are not rare and that standard assays to identify tumorigenic cells fail to detect a large portion of them. This prompted two letters describing an earlier study by David Taussig and others which found that the antibodies used to detect the leukemogenic cells first identified by John Dick changed their behaviour. Another letter pointed out the role that the extracellular matrix plays in shielding transplanted cells from the immune response, and suggested that this could provide insight in developing immune-based therapies to cancer.  Read more

PTEN lessons from planaria

PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog) is an important tumour suppressor in humans, and its disruption contributes to a wide variety of cancers. The fact that it appears to negatively regulate the PI3K/Akt pathway, which controls cellular proliferation and differentiation, implies that it is important in adult tissue homeostasis; however, until now, its role in this process had not been fully explored. A study published this week in Disease Models & Mechanisms, from Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, describes a new planarian model system to study the role of this tumour suppressor in tissue homeostasis. The team shows that the homolog’s function in stem cell regulation is highly conserved.  Read more

Growing blood in a dish; using stem cells to screen for breast cancer

Below is a summary of a couple Cell Stem Cell papers that offer map-fragments to one of stem cells Holy Grails: culturing the cells that give rise to blood. This could lead to more broadly applicable alternatives to treatments that now use cord blood or bone marrow transplants. This will become a formal highlight next week.  Read more