Cell Plasticity: the connection between normal and cancer stem cells
Cell plasticity is defined as the cell capability to change its phenotype in response to microenvironmental signals. Stem cells are a prototype of cells with high plasticity because their physiological role in generating a variety of cell types both during development as in tissue regeneration.
Interestingly, most human tumors contain a minor subpopulation of malignant cells with stem cells characterisitcs and high plasticity as well. Those cells are known as cancer stem cells (CSC) or tumor initiating cells because their strong capability to originate and support tumors.
My lab is exploring the interconnection between normal and cancer stem cells. We are using human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) and cancer stem cells to explore the level of plasticity existing at those cells types. By manipulating in vitro the cell microenvironment we are studying a potential connection between iPSC and CSC.
Ubaldo Soto, Ph.D.
Division of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
School of Medicine
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda, CA 92350