Gene Expression Analysis of Ovarian and Head Neck Cancer Stem Cells
According to the cancer stem cell model, tumors originate in either tissue stem cells or progenitor cells, through deregulation of the normally tightly regulated process of self-renewal. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) share the self-renewal and multipotent progenitor potential of their normal counterparts, albeit aberrantly, giving rise to a heterogenous population of cancer cells. Relapse of cancer patients after remission is likely due to failure to eradicate CSCs through current treatments. Thus, identifying CSCs and targeting of pathways necessary for their survival may provide better treatments for cancer patients. These researchers use existing, online gene array databases of ovarian CSCs to identify potential targets affecting growth, survival, and differentiation pathways in these cells. They also use expression data generated in their laboratory to study this phenomenon. They will compare their gene expression data with that already generated by other groups to study signaling pathways involved in CSC function and survival. These data will be used to examine new targets and to design new targeted therapies that specifically zero in on the CSC populations of ovarian and head and neck tumors. The researchers will also examine CSCs in the context of chemoresistance.
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