Stem cells, Id, and cancer

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute posted an interesting item today on their blog Beaker about a talk given as part of the Southern California Stem Cell Consortium. At the invitation of Evan Snyder, Dr. Antonio Iavarone of Columbia University discussed his work with a protein named Id. According to their entry:

He described how Id keeps stem cells as stem cells — increasing in number, but not settling down and choosing a specialty. When Dr. Iavarone and his colleagues turned Id off, stem cells were allowed to stop dividing and start differentiating.

“We are now beginning to screen chemical libraries to find molecules that target Id,” Dr. Iavarone explained. “We believe anti-Id agents will be effective at inhibiting tumor growth.”

 This type of work will be critical for developing therapies to combat cancer or replace damaged neurons in neurodegenerative diseases.