March 4, 2016

Stem Cells & Neoplasia


45652-Stem Cell & Neoplasia group

Stem cells are the earliest step in the hierarchal progressive maturation to functionally differentiated cells with characteristics of self-renew and fast proliferation. Although the concept that tumours contain a subpopulation of cells with stem cell properties has been demonstrated in a number of tumour types, little has been reported on the role of stem cells in musculoskeletal (MSK)  tumours, perhaps due to lack of unique mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) marker. In our studies, we hypothesize that MSK tumours contain a subpopulation of tumour initiating cells. The first step in our research is to identify and isolate tumour initiating cells (TIC) from musculoskeletal tumours. Further study of this population of cells will allow for the characterization of molecular pathways regulating the development of MSK, ultimately identifying potential novel therapeutic targets. We also are studying the role of developmentally important signalling pathways in fibrous and cartilaginous tumours (aggressive fibromatosis, desmoid tumours, enchondromas, and chondrosarcoma). In this work, we generated genetically modified mice that developed these tumours, and are studying how modulating the signalling pathways causes these tumours, and how this information could be used to develop potential new therapeutic approaches. Team members (Left to Right): Hirata Makoto, Peter Dixon, Qingxia Wei, Mushriq Al Jazrawe, Cassandra Tyson, Ronak Ghanbari-Azarnier, Shingo Sato and Katherine Ho.