Thursday, January 18, 2007

Significant USC study on stem cell - cancer link

A USC study entitled Epigenetic Stem Cell Signature in Cancer (Nature Genetics, February 2007, Volume 39, Number 2) provides evidence for the theory that cancer is rooted in small populations of stem cells .

Science Daily quoted Peter Laird, one of the authors: Finding that a Polycomb target in an embryonic stem cell is 12 times more likely to become abnormally methylated in cancer is highly significant. The full list of authors comprises Martin Widschwendter, Heidi Fiegl, Daniel Egle, Elisabeth Mueller-Holzner, Gilbert Spizzo, Christian Marth, Daniel J. Weisenberger, Mihaela Campan, Joanne Young, Ian Jacobs, and Peter W. Laird.

Science Daily also stated: Findings from the USC study also can be applied to stem cell research funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), which was created through passage of California Proposition 71 in 2004. "One of CIRM's aims," says Laird, "is to culture and differentiate embryonic stems cells -- cells that would then be placed into patients. Since our research shows that cancer is rooted in stem cells, it would be very important to screen for the epigenetic abnormalities that we uncovered, so as to prevent people from receiving potentially cancer-prone cells."

IPBiz notes that this type of research involving stem cells is apt to be one of the first commercial embodiments. Screening will precede curing on the timeline.


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