Mechanism That Maintains Stem Cells Readiness Identified, UT Southwestern Medical Center Study
6/1/2012 7:22:12 AM
An immune-system receptor plays an unexpected but crucially important role in keeping stem cells from differentiating and in helping blood cancer cells grow, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center report today in the journal Nature. Cancer cells grow rapidly in part because they fail to differentiate into mature cells. Drugs that induce differentiation can be used to treat cancers," said Dr. Chengcheng "Alec" Zhang, assistant professor in UT Southwestern's departments of physiology and developmental biology. "Our research identified a protein receptor on cancer cells that inhibits differentiation, and knowing the identity of this protein should facilitate the development of new drugs to treat cancers."