Nav: Home

Healthy blood stem cells have as many DNA mutations as leukemic cells

November 28, 2018

Researchers from the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology have shown that the number of mutations in healthy and leukemic blood stem cells does not differ. Rather the location of the mutations in the DNA is relevant. Using the mutation patterns in the hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) the team was able to trace the developmental lineage tree of the cells.

Mutational load

Van Boxtel, together with his team, studied healthy blood stem cells from seven people of different ages. 'Blood stem cells divide about once every 40 weeks,' says Van Boxtel, 'and we saw that eleven mutations occur during one division.' The older the test subject, the more mutations the researchers found because the mutations accumulate over the years. Yet, these people were fit as a fiddle.

Nevertheless, mutations in blood stem cells may also lead to leukemia. 'We thought that people with leukemia would have more mutations than healthy people,' says Van Boxtel, 'but this is not the case.' The HSPCs of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) contain as many mutations as those from healthy people. The researchers published their results in the open access journal Cell Reports.

Developmental lineage tree

The researchers also describe how they were able to trace the developmental lineage tree of hematopoiesis using the mutation pattern of HSPCs. 'If you study the pattern of mutations of a cancer cell, you can figure out which cell it comes from,' explains Van Boxtel. 'We have shown this for HSPCs now, but especially for solid tumors the origin of the cancer cell is very relevant for selecting the most effective treatment strategy.' The technique has a lot of potential according to the authors. The next step for Van Boxtel and his team will be to study the origin of causative mutations in second cancers in survivors of pediatric cancer.

'So far, we assumed that new mutations occur as a result of intensive treatment during childhood and cause second cancers later in life. We can now test whether these mutations are indeed new or already existed and contributed to both incidences of cancer. This is relevant knowledge when making a treatment plan for children with cancer.'
-end-


Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology

Related Cancer Articles:

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.
Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.
Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.
Oncotarget: Cancer pioneer employs physics to approach cancer in last research article
In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James Frost, MD, PhD, Kenneth Pienta, MD, and the late Donald Coffey, Ph.D., use a theory of physical and biophysical symmetry to derive a new conceptualization of cancer.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives
From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remade–and helps us design our own paths.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Insomnia Line
Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what'd Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.