Healthy stem cells work to restore or repair the body's tissues, but cancer stem cells have a more nefarious mission: to spawn malignant tumors. Cancer stem cells were discovered a decade ago, but their origins and identity remain largely unknown.
The Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University recently hosted its second Stem Cell Symposium, focusing on cancer stem cells. Leading scientists from the U.S., Canada and Belgium discussed the latest advances in the field and highlighted the challenges of translating this knowledge into targeted cancer treatments.
"These exceptional scientists are pioneers in the field and have made enormous contributions to our understanding of the biology of stem cells and cancer," said Paul Frenette, M.D., director and chair of Einstein's Stem Cell Institute and professor of medicine and of cell biology. "Hopefully this symposium will spark productive dialogues and collaborations among the researchers who attend."
The presenters were:
- "Cancer Stem Cells and Malignant Progression," Robert A. Weinberg, Ph.D., Daniel K. Daniel K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research Director, Ludwig Center of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Member, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
- "Towards Unification of Cancer Stem Cell and Clonal Evolution Models of Intratumoral Heterogeneity," John Dick, Ph.D., Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Biology and senior scientist, Princess Margaret Cancer Center, University Health Network; professor of molecular genetics, University of Toronto
- "Normal and Neoplastic Stem Cells," Irving L. Weissman, M.D., Director, Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and Director, Stanford Ludwig Center for Cancer Stem Cell Research and Medicine; Professor of Pathology and Developmental Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine
- "Cell Fate Decisions During Tumor Formation," Leonard I. Zon, M.D., Grousbeck Professor of Pediatric Medicine, Director, Stem Cell Research Program, Howard Hughes Medical Institute/Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
- "Skin Stem Cells in Silence, Action and Cancer," Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D., Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor, Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development, Howard Hughes Medical Institute/The Rockefeller University
- "Mechanism Regulating Stemness in Skin Cancer," Cédric Blanpain, M.D., Ph.D., professor of stem cell and developmental biology, WELBIO, Interdisciplinary Research Institute, Université Libre de Bruxelles
- "Mouse Models of Malignant GBM: Cancer Stem Cells and Beyond," Luis F. Parada, Ph.D., professor and chairman, Diana K and Richard C. Strauss Distinguished Chair in Developmental Biology; Director, Kent Waldrep Foundation Center for Basic Neuroscience Research; Southwestern Ball Distinguished Chair in Nerve Regeneration Research, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center