UCLA

Celebrating National Cancer Research Month with a cancer stem cell round-up

In celebration of National Cancer Research Month, our colleagues at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute have posted a series of blog entries about cancer research at their institute. The latest installment includes CIRM grantee Robert Wechsler-Reya, who moved to California from Duke University on a CIRM Research Leadership Award.

According to their blog:

Protein Linked to Normal Prostate Stem Cells and to Cancer

When I was the editor of a national magazine for physicians, I told my writers to do any story they found on prostate issues, with our overwhelming male audience then, I knew those stories would get high readership scores. My readers back then would have loved today's news out of UCLA. The team there, led by CIRM grantee Owen Witte, found that the inhibition of a certain protein slowed the growth of an aggressive form of prostate cancer in animal models.

Small DNA changes, life or death consequences

Two recent papers by CIRM grantees highlight the importance of understanding basic stem cell biology while developing new cures. Both have to do with chemical modifications to the DNA – called epigenetics.

One of the two papers shows that an epigenetic change in DNA, called methylation, changes dramatically as human embryonic stem cells mature into specific cell types; the other shows that even subtle DNA methylation differences alter the way a cell behaves.

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