Science College presents: 'Stem cells in cancer: do they matter?'
Historical studies of cancer frequently view a tumor as composed of cells that are all equally bad. More recent studies reveal that individual cells of a tumour vary in many of the features of cancer.
This variation can contribute to therapy failure and disease recurrence. A single tumor can be composed of genetically distinct subclones, each with distinct functional properties. Some subclones can be sensitive to therapy whereas others are resistant to therapy because they contain genetic mutations.
Dr. John E. Dick’s research has found that many tumors are functional hierarchies similar to normal tissues such as blood and skin where rare stem cells support continuous tissue regeneration.
In cancer, subpopulations of self-renewing cancer stem cells sustain long-term clonal maintenance of cancer cells. Although these cancer stem cells can be rare yet they possess properties such as dormancy that provides them with therapy resistance.
The research emphasizes the fact that therapy can eradicate the bulk of tumor cells.
John E. Dick — the Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Biology and a professor of molecular genetics at the University of Toronto — will explain how the discovery of cancer stem cells has laid the foundation for new approaches to cancer therapy.
Free admission, no advance reservations