Source: Okayama University, Planning and Public Information Division
For immediate release: 20 September 2012
Okayama University researchers demonstrate that cancer stem cells can be produced from normal stem cells for new therapies to combat cancer
(Okayama, Japan, 20 September 2012) Okayama University’s Masaharu Seno and colleagues have demonstrated in vitro the development of cancer stem cells (CSCs) from a type of normal stem cell exposed to their hypothetical microenvironment of a tumor. The findings are also described in the inaugural September issue of Okayama University e-Bulletin: http://www.okayama-u.ac.jp/user/kouhou/ebulletin/index.html
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been proposed as an explanation for the spread of cancer. These cells are tumorigenic and have the capacity of both self-renewal and differentiation into a range of various cell types. In this concept, malignant tumors provide heterogeneous aspects derived from CSCs as well as normal stem cells provide tissue specific phenotype in response to their microenvironment.
Researchers have now demonstrated in vitro the development of CSCs from a type of normal stem cell exposed to their hypothetical microenvironment of a tumor. The results are the work of a group of scientists led by Masaharu Seno, a professor of Okayama University, with his collaborators in China and the US.
The researchers cultured mouse induced pluripotent stem (miPS) cells in a conditioned medium obtained from a number of mouse cancer cell lines. Finally, a population of stem cells was kept undifferentiated and proliferating while other stem cells differentiated into specialized cells, which were incapable of proliferation any more.
Since the survived miPS cells treated with the conditioned medium were found malignantly tumorigenic in vivo, they concluded that the cells could be defined as CSCs . “The model of CSCs and the procedure of their establishment will help study the genetic alterations and the secreted factors in the tumor microenvironment which convert miPS cells to CSCs,” explain the authors. The work should help breakthrough towards the development of new therapies to combat cancer.
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About Okayama University
Okayama University is one of the largest comprehensive universities in Japan with roots going back to the Medical Training Place sponsored by the Lord of Okayama and established in 1870. Now with 1,300 faculty and 14,000 students, the University offers courses in specialties ranging from medicine and pharmacy to humanities and physical sciences. Okayama University is located in the heart of Japan approximately 3 hours west of Tokyo by Shinkansen.