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Discoveries thrust cancer-initiating stem cells into a larger role in cancer biology and treatment

n of the BRCA1 gene increased the number of stem cells, which then propagated in the fatty tissues of the breast.

These studies suggest that loss of BRCA1 function leads to a block in cell differentiation, expanding the stem cell pool. Since BRCA1 also regulates DNA repair, this may then produce genetically unstable stem cells which in turn generate tumors in these women.

According to Liu, the loss of a single BRCA1 gene can lead to stem cell propagation. The researchers believe their findings might lead to better BRCA1 screening in women with a family history of breast cancer.


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Contact: Staci Vernick Goldberg
goldberg@aacr.org
267-646-0616
American Association for Cancer Research
18-Apr-2007


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