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:

Dr. Robert Wechsler-Reya, who directs the Tumor Development Program in Sanford-Burnham’s Cancer Center, has spent many years studying how “good” processes can also cause disease. He is particularly interested in how mechanisms that are normal in embryonic development can cause cancer when turned on in children and adults.

“We work on the relationship between development and cancer, particularly in the brain,” says Dr. Wechsler-Reya. “We’re interested in how normal stem cells and progenitor cells make decisions like when to divide, when to differentiate and what to differentiate into. We’re interested in how those decisions go wrong in cancer.”

To-date, CIRM has awarded more than $130 million to cancer research, including grantees working to understand the role of cancer stem cells in the disease and other teams working to develop therapies. Among our Disease Team projects, which have the goal of reaching clinical trials by 2014, CIRM funded two teams working on therapies for glioma (City of Hope and UCSF), two working on therapies for leukemia (Stanford and UCSD), and one working on solid tumors (UCLA).

Here are a few resources CIRM offers for people trying to get information about stem cells and cancer.

We also produced this video with CIRM grantee Catriona Jamieson at Moore’s UCSD Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego. Jamieson has a therapy in clinical trial for a pre-cancerous blood condition. The work that led to that trial was funded in part by a CIRM SEED grant.