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Intra-turmoral heterogeneity and the stem cell state: cancer from a developmental perspective

Intra-turmoral heterogeneity and the stem cell state: cancer from a developmental perspective

Summary:  At the time of diagnosis, most tumors comprise heterogeneous cell masses.  This heterogeneity confounds diagnosis, and creates imprecision for precision therapeutic approaches.  As tumors are generally clonal in origin, the cell of origin must acquire the ability to generate diverse cell types during tumor progression.  There are likely many underlying mechanisms responsible for this, among which the most intensively studied involve genetic and epigenetic instability.  Here, I will discuss another mechanism that we must understand if we are to successfully treat cancers and their metastases. This has to do with the acquisition of cell state plasticity during progression.  I will discuss recent insights we have gained through our analyses of normal mammary development, and acquisition and loss of the mammary stem cell state.  An important conclusion from our and other studies is that perturbations in the tumor microenvironment including inflammation and aging can collaborate with oncogenic changes within the tumor to generate cells able to change their differentiation state.  This can contribute to intratumoral heterogeneity, and to the development of drug resistance and metastasis.

Date: 4/26/17, 9am to 10:30am
Time: 4/26/17, 9am to 10:30am
Location: 4SCR1.1110
Format: Seminar/Conference
Speaker: Geoffrey M. Wahl, PhD
Speaker Bio: Dr. Geoffrey M. Wahl is a Professor at the Salk Institute, an Adjunct Professor at the University of California, San Diego in the Department of Biology, and the past President of the American Association for Cancer Research (2006-2007). His research focuses on a number of important problems related to cancer biology.
Contact: Roseann Martinez - 32718 - rmartinez@mdanderson.org