Cancer stem cells, tumor heterogeneity and novel therapy

Cancer stem cells, tumor heterogeneity and novel therapy

Brain tumor stem cells marked by Tlx-GFP reporter
© Dr. Haikun Liu

The CSC hypothesis provides an attractive approach of effective therapy. However, the field are mostly supported by descriptive studies of features of these cells but not much functional evidence of  CSCs based on rigorous in vivo analysis. We recently demonstrated that Tlx-expressing BTSCs are essential for tumor maintenance using single cell lineage tracing in vivo and tumor stem cell conditional KO approach. This in vivo evidence consolidated the CSC hypothesis in glioblastoma and provide a novel target for this aggressive cancer. We are trying to dissect the molecular principles of brain tumor heterogeneity by using large scale single cell RNA-seq (human and mouse brain tumors), single cell tracing and single cell KO.  

We also performed several screens and identified several novel targets in BTSCs which we already functionally validated in mouse models. We are actively collaborating with pharmaceutical companies on several drug discovery projects for targeting brain tumor stem cells. 

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