Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology

, Volume 56, Supplement 1, pp 64-68

First online:

A self-renewal assay for cancer stem cells

  • Michael F. ClarkeAffiliated withUniversity of Michigan Medical School Email author 

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Cancers of epithelial origin are responsible for the majority of cancer-related deaths in the USA. Unfortunately, although chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy can sometimes shrink tumors, metastatic cancers of epithelial origin are essentially incurable. It is clear that new approaches are needed to treat these diseases. Although cancer cell lines provide invaluable information, their biological properties often differ in crucial ways from de novo cancer cells. Our laboratory has developed a novel mouse model that reliably permits individual cancer cells isolated directly from patients’ tumors to be assayed. This will allow the characterization of crucial signaling pathways involved in processes such as self-renewal that are critical for tumor formation by the cancer cells within de novo tumors. These tools should lead to new insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms that drive human breast cancer growth and invasion.


Stem cells Cancer Self-renewal