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Genetic lineage markers for identifying glioma cancer stem cells

Mouse studies suggest cell-specific expression of GFP-based genetic elements could be useful for identifying compounds that target glioma stem cells. Transgenic mice were engineered to develop gliomas that consist of a large population of highly proliferative GFP-negative cells and a small population of quiescent GFP-positive cells. Chemotherapy eradicated GFP-negative tumor cells but not GFP-positive tumor cells. When chemotherapy was discontinued in these mice, the quiescent GFP-positive tumor cells gradually gave rise to a large population of highly proliferative and differentiated GFP-negative tumor cells. In this model, selective ablation of the GFP-positive cells, even in the absence of chemotherapy, blocked tumor growth and significantly increased survival compared with no ablation (p=0.001). Next steps include pooling gliomas from multiple mice and using them in a high throughput small molecule screen (see Tracing cancer stem cells, page 1).

SciBX 5(32); doi:10.1038/scibx.2012.854
Published online Aug. 16, 2012

Unpatented; licensing status not applicable

Chen, J. et al. Nature; published online Aug. 1, 2012;
Contact: Luis F. Parada, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas