Cancer stem cells isolated from kidney tumors

December 13, 2012

Scientists have isolated cancer stem cells that lead to the growth of Wilms' tumours, a type of cancer typically found in the kidneys of young children. The researchers have used these cancer stem cells to test a new therapeutic approach that one day might be used to treat some of the more aggressive types of this disease. The results are published online in EMBO Molecular Medicine.

"In earlier studies, cancer stem cells were isolated from adult cancers of the breast, pancreas and brain but so far much less is known about stem cells in paediatric cancers," remarked Professor Benjamin Dekel, head of the Pediatric Stem Cell Research Institute and a senior physician at the Sheba Medical Center and the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, Israel. "Cancer stem cells contain the complete genetic machinery necessary to start, sustain and propagate tumour growth and they are often referred to as cancer-initiating cells. As such, they not only represent a useful system to study cancer development but they also serve as a way to study new drug targets and potential treatments designed to stop the growth and spread of different types of cancer." He added: "We have demonstrated for the first time the presence of cancer stem cells in a type of tumour that is often found in the kidneys of young children."

Wilms' tumours are the most prevalent type of tumour found in the kidneys of children. While many patients respond well if the tumours are removed early by surgery and if patients are given chemotherapy, recurrences may occur and the cancer can spread to other tissues increasing the risks to the health of the patient. Conventional chemotherapy is toxic to all cells in the body and if given to children may lead to the development of secondary cancers when they become adults. Scientists are looking for ways to ensure that drugs are targeted specifically to tumour cells and some cells in a tumour may be more important to eradicate than others.

The researchers were able to remove parts of the tumours of cancer patients and graft them into mice. This procedure led to the growth of human tumours in mice. Cancer stem cells were identified in these tumours and it was shown that only the cancer stem cells and not the other cancer cells led to the development of new tumours upon grafting into additional mice. This process could be repeated multiple times and the animals could be used to study the development of cancer and test the action of potential new cancer drugs against Wilms' tumours.

"We identified several biomarkers, including molecules that are on the cell surface, cell signaling molecules and microRNAs, that make it possible to distinguish between cancer stem cells or cancer-initiating cells and the rest of the cells in the tumour that are less likely to lead to cancer. In further experiments, we were able to show that an antibody drug that targets one such biomarker, the neural cell adhesion molecule, was able to either almost completely or in some cases completely eradicate the tumours that we induced in mice," added Dekel. "This preliminary result suggests that the cancer stem cells that we have identified, isolated and propagated may serve as a useful tool to look for new drug targets as well as new drugs for the treatment of Wilms' tumours."

Further work is needed to identify more precisely how the antibody drug used in the study (lorvotuzumabmertansine) affects cancer stem cell populations and to test the long-term suitability of the antibody drug to treat Wilms' tumours in humans.
-end-
Prospective isolation and characterization of renal cancer stem cells from human Wilms' tumor xenografts provides new therapeutic targets

Naomi Pode-Shakked, Rachel Shukrun, Michal Mark-Danieli, Peter Tsvetkov, Sarit Bahar, Sara Pri-Chen, Ronald S. Goldstein, Eithan Rom-Gross, Yoram Mor, Edward Fridman, Karen Meir, Marcus Magister, Naftali Kaminski, Amos Simon, Victor S. Goldmacher, Orit Harari-Steinberg, Benjamin Dekel

doi: 10.1002/emmm.201201516

Further information on EMBO Molecular Medicine is available at www.embomolmed.org

Media Contacts

Barry Whyte
Head | Public Relations and Communications

Yvonne Kaul
Communications Offer
Tel: +49 6221 8891 108/111
communications@embo.org

About EMBO

EMBO is an organization of more than 1500 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences. The major goals of the organization are to support talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a European research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.

EMBO helps young scientists to advance their research, promote their international reputations and ensure their mobility. Courses, workshops, conferences and scientific journals disseminate the latest research and offer training in techniques to maintain high standards of excellence in research practice. EMBO helps to shape science and research policy by seeking input and feedback from our community and by following closely the trends in science in Europe. 
For more information: www.embo.org

EMBO

Related Stem Cells Articles from Brightsurf:

SUTD researchers create heart cells from stem cells using 3D printing
SUTD researchers 3D printed a micro-scaled physical device to demonstrate a new level of control in the directed differentiation of stem cells, enhancing the production of cardiomyocytes.

More selective elimination of leukemia stem cells and blood stem cells
Hematopoietic stem cells from a healthy donor can help patients suffering from acute leukemia.

Computer simulations visualize how DNA is recognized to convert cells into stem cells
Researchers of the Hubrecht Institute (KNAW - The Netherlands) and the Max Planck Institute in Münster (Germany) have revealed how an essential protein helps to activate genomic DNA during the conversion of regular adult human cells into stem cells.

First events in stem cells becoming specialized cells needed for organ development
Cell biologists at the University of Toronto shed light on the very first step stem cells go through to turn into the specialized cells that make up organs.

Surprising research result: All immature cells can develop into stem cells
New sensational study conducted at the University of Copenhagen disproves traditional knowledge of stem cell development.

The development of brain stem cells into new nerve cells and why this can lead to cancer
Stem cells are true Jacks-of-all-trades of our bodies, as they can turn into the many different cell types of all organs.

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

New method grows brain cells from stem cells quickly and efficiently
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have developed a faster method to generate functional brain cells, called astrocytes, from embryonic stem cells.

NUS researchers confine mature cells to turn them into stem cells
Recent research led by Professor G.V. Shivashankar of the Mechanobiology Institute at the National University of Singapore and the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology in Italy, has revealed that mature cells can be reprogrammed into re-deployable stem cells without direct genetic modification -- by confining them to a defined geometric space for an extended period of time.

Researchers develop a new method for turning skin cells into pluripotent stem cells
Researchers at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, have for the first time succeeded in converting human skin cells into pluripotent stem cells by activating the cell's own genes.

Read More: Stem Cells News and Stem Cells Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.