Researchers at UC, Los Angeles discovered a series of mutations that can convert normal blood stem cells into cancer stem cells. It is believed that many types of cancer result from cancer stem cells created by such mutations. In this case the first mutation converted normal stem cells and then caused over expression of an oncogene, a cancer gene, resulting in a proliferation of leukemia stem cells and acute T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia in a mouse model. The team hopes that by studying these pathways they will find ways to block them with small molecule drugs and cure the often fatal disease.
Nature: May 22, 2008
CIRM funding: Wei Guo (T1-00005)
Related Information: UCLA press release, The Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA