View Full Version : Stem cells are not the only potential source of cancer

09-06-2015, 11:07 PM
The Jerusalem Post

Cancer researchers yearn to add another brick in the wall that could eventually lead the demise of the biggest killer disease in the Western world. Now scientists at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba say they had made a discovery that contributes to advancement in the fight – another brick, and a significant one.

Prof. Sergio Lamprecht of the clinical biochemistry and pharmacology department in the Health Sciences Faculty and Prof. Alexander Fish, head of the gastroenterology, aimed at identifying cells that undergo genetic changes and multiply in an uncontrolled way. If this multiplication is halted early, it can prevent the cells’ development and metastasis. Over the years, it was commonly believed among oncology researchers that adult stem cells are the only ones that can turn into preliminary cancer cells.

A year ago, Lamprecht suggested, in the context or colon cancer, that there are additional types of adult “daughter” cells that divide and undergo differentiation and can also serve as a potential target for genetic changes that occur outside the region where stem cells are located.

His hypothesis was supported by a large number of experimental research in the field. It as proven that stem cells and preliminary cancer cells are not necessary of the same type of cell and that the primary genetic change can harm daughter cells that are not stem cells, not only in the gastrointestinal system but also in other tissues.

The research findings presented clear evidence that healthy adult cells can acquire the characteristics of stem cells and replace those missing as a reaction to the loss of stem cells or tissue damage (known as “plasticity of daughter cells”). A similar process is carried out by cancer cells that are not stem cells when they adopt the behavior of stem cells and take their place.

The BGU research, which presents a new approach, was recently published in the journal Carcinogenesis, presents new ideas for continuation of the work focusing on the implications of the discovery in preventing and treating cancer.