Stem cells and cancer: the good, the bad and the ugly
From Peter Crooks
Inaugural lecture of Professor Steve Pollard
Professor of Stem Cell and Cancer Biology
During the normal development of our nervous system, neural stem cells are responsible for generating the large numbers of different neurons and glia that make up the adult brain. To do this, they deploy ‘master regulatory’ transcription factors, that switch on the appropraite genes at the right time and place. In human brain tumours, such as glioblastoma, these transcription factors are ‘highjacked’ and are activated inappropriately. This leads to uncontrolled proliferation of the cancer cells, and limits their ability to become specialised, mature cells. They become locked in a perpetual immature state.
In his inaugural lecture Steve Pollard will discuss the relevance of understanding normal brain development to our understanding of brain cancer. How do these cells become corrupted in glioblastoma? What mechanisms sustain their growth? How can we use this new knowledge to develop new therapies against these incurable cancers?