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Learning how bowel stem cells develop into tumours

  • Researcher: Professor Eduard Batlle
  • Institution: Fundacio Institut de Recerca Biomedica
  • Award Amount: £234,876 for 3 years from September 2012
  • Cancer Type: Bowel Cancer
Learning how bowel stem cells develop into tumours
All normal tissues within our bodies have a tiny population of stem cells. Stem cells are a kind of 'starter cell' which can multiply and change into a wide variety of other cells depending on where they are located in the body. Stem cells from the bowel have been isolated in order to study their role in bowel cancer, thanks to a molecule on the surface of these stem cells. This molecule can also be found within the tumour in bowel cancers.

Professor Batlle and his research group have recently discovered that the types of genes that can be found in bowel stem cells predict whether patients with bowel cancer will relapse after treatment. These results point towards a link between bowel stem cells and bowel cancer. With the new Worldwide Cancer Research grant Professor Batlle will analyse and compare normal bowel stem cells and bowel cancer stem cells to learn how new tumours occur after treatment, or when it spreads to different parts of the body.
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