Tuesday, December 9, 2008

ASH 50th Anniversary Review by John Dick

Stem cell concepts renew cancer research by John E Dick, Blood 2008(Dec 15);112(13): 4793-4807. Abstract:
Although uncontrolled proliferation is a distinguishing property of a tumor as a whole, the individual cells that make up the tumor exhibit considerable variation in many properties, including morphology, proliferation kinetics, and the ability to initiate tumor growth in transplant assays. Understanding the molecular and cellular basis of this heterogeneity has important implications in the design of therapeutic strategies. The mechanistic basis of tumor heterogeneity has been uncertain; however, there is now strong evidence that cancer is a cellular hierarchy with cancer stem cells at the apex. This review provides a historical overview of the influence of hematology on the development of stem cell concepts and their linkage to cancer.
One of the most recent of the 50th Anniversary Reviews of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

1 comment:

  1. The Footnotes in John Dick's review are noteworthy. Excerpt:

    My introduction to hematology began during my postdoctoral fellowship with Alan Bernstein at the storied Ontario Cancer Institute. This was in the mid-1980s during the early days of retrovirus-mediated gene transfer and the breathless prediction that gene therapy was imminent and would be the cure of many human diseases. Prior work from this group had already developed retroviral vectors and provided the first evidence of transduction of primary murine clonogenic progenitors; my project was to develop the means to transduce the hematopoietic stem cell. Although there was intense competition to be the first group to show hematopoietic stem cell transduction, the 2 most important lessons I learned in this period were: always look back to the past to guide the directions of the future so as not to "reinvent the wheel," and the drive to do research should come from the intrinsic value and importance of the question being asked rather than from looking over your shoulder to stay ahead of an imagined or real competitor.