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New research shows stomach (gastric) cancer originates from bone marrow derived stem cells

A new study from Columbia University Medical Center finds that stomach (gastric) cancer originates from bone marrow derived stem cells (BMDC), rather than from stomach stem cells, as previously thought. The study, "Gastric Cancer Originating from Bone Marrow-Derived Cells" is published in the current issue of Science. "This was an unexpected finding, which may lead to a re-evaluation of current assumptions about how all cancers originate," said Timothy C. Wang, M.D., chief, Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases and Dorothy L. and Daniel H. Silberberg Professor of Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and senior author of the study. "The implications of this study may lead to new methods of diagnosis and treatment of many cancers particularly those that have been linked to chronic inflammation such as stomach, esophagus, lung, pancreas, liver, etc."

A common assumption among cancer specialists is that most cancers originate from tissue stem cells for example, the gastric stem cells contained in the lining of the stomach. However, the researchers suspected BMDC may contribute to the development or progression of cancer because they are frequently recruited to sites of tissue injury and inflammation, e.g., a typical site for cancer development.

Results found that chronic infection with Helicobacter pylori (known as H. pylori), a common type of bacteria known to cause inflammation and ulcers in the stomach and a known carcinogen, leads to the death of most normal stomach cells. As a result, BMDCs arrive in numbers in an attempt to repair the site. These BMDCs, which are somewhat prone to undergo transformation, progress over time into stomach cancer cells. The research was conducted in mouse models.

"With this clearer understanding of the connection between bone marrow derived stem cells and stomach cancer, I plan to establish screening models for people at high risk of cancer and work to trans
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Contact: Elizabeth Streich
eas2125@columbia.edu
212-305-6535
Columbia University Medical Center
25-Nov-2004


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