Historic Hurd Hall on Johns Hopkins’ East Baltimore campus was filled to capacity on Jan. 13 with students, faculty and staff waiting to hear five scientists—all in the early part of their careers—describe their novel ideas on how to cure metastatic cancer.
The five were finalists, chosen from among 44 entrants, in a competition on creative thinking named for John Rangos Sr., chairman of the Rangos Family Foundation, who funded the awards. Each scientist had 10 minutes to present his or her idea and answer questions from a panel of faculty judges, who would select the winners based on the
December 4, 2009- Working with mice, scientists at Johns Hopkins publishing in the December issue of Neoplasia have shown that a protein made by a gene called “Twist” may be the proverbial red flag that can accurately distinguish stem cells that drive aggressive, metastatic breast cancer from other breast cancer cells.
Building on recent work suggesting that it is a relatively rare subgroup of stem cells in breast tumors that drives breast cancer, scientists have surmised that this subgroup of cells must have some very distinctive qualities and characteristics.
Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have found that a cancer gene linked to aggressive spread of the disease promotes breast cancer stem cells. The finding implies a new way to target the behavior of these lethal cells.
The finding involves the cancer gene RhoC, which has previously been shown to promote metastasis of many types of cancer. RhoC levels increase as breast cancer progresses and high levels of RhoC are associated with worse patient survival.
Cancer stem cells are the small number of cells within a tumor that are believed to fuel the tumor’s growth
Image by hoodiefanatic via Flickr
The key to eradicating tumors and preventing relapses and metastasis is buried within the tumor itself. The tumor cells themselves contain a sort of needle in the haystack. Just 1% of the total volume of the tumor is responsible for reproduction, and a targeted surgery or drugs could be sufficient enough to “deactivate” the tumor and avoid any possibility of a reoccurrence. This type of treatment could possibly change the therapeutic approach to malignant tumors according to an Italian study at the Superior Health Institute (ISS) by Professor Ruggero De Maria, the Director
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