The HSCI Cancer Program is working on defining the fundamental molecular and genetic differences between cancer stem cells and their normal counterparts. The development of more effective stem cell-directed therapies--and the eventual eradication of cancer--depends on our understanding of how a normal stem cell becomes a cancer cell.
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Key Research Questions
The HSCI Cancer Program sparks collaborations across Harvard's schools and hospitals to answer the following:
- What are the critical genes and pathways that sufficiently distinguish cancer from normal stem cells?
- Which of the genes and pathways identified would serve as candidate targets for therapy?
Key Scientific Results
Scientific findings from the HSCI Cancer Program include:
- Isolation and molecular characterization of normal stem cell populations from mouse intestine and colon.
- Demonstration that b-catenin is required for leukemia stem cell development and survival.
- Investigation of the selective role of oncogenic KRAS signaling in clonogenic cells isolated from human pancreatic tumors.
- Identification and investigation of key pathways operating in lung tumor-propagating cells.
- Early development of imaging technologies to visualize single tumor-initiating stem cells in the laboratory.