Nov. 27, 2013 — Researchers at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI), the University of California at San Francisco and the University of Michigan have solved a mystery that has stumped scientists for years, discovering how leukemia-causing mutations enable pre-leukemic stem cells to outperform their healthy counterparts.
Nov. 7, 2013 — Two groups of scientists at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern have made complementary discoveries that break new ground on efforts to turn back the body’s clock on cellular activity, paving the way for a better understanding of stem cells, tissue growth and regeneration.
Oct. 24, 2013 — A group of researchers including Ralph DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Genetic and Metabolic Disease Program at the Children’s Research Institute at UT Southwestern, have identified new therapeutic targets for a significant percentage of patients who have the most common form of lung cancer among smokers, non-smokers and people under age 45. The targets were detected in spite of the myriad difficulties posed by genetically complex tumor lesions that have hindered efforts to identify therapeutic opportunities. Read the research published in Cell.
Sept. 23, 2013 — Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern has recruited a new faculty member, Woo-Ping Ge, Ph.D. His laboratory will research the interactions between brain vasculature and the nervous system, in hopes of developing therapeutic targets for treating diseases such as stroke and brain tumors. Dr. Ge recently shared his thoughts about joining the CRI team and the impact he expects his new surroundings will have on his work. Read the Q&A interview.
Sept. 19, 2013 — Previously published research has suggested that the properties of cancer stem cells can explain a variety of unsolved clinical problems. However, new experimental approaches have provided additional perspective and insight regarding the extent to which metastasis, therapy resistance and disease progression reflect the intrinsic properties of cancer stem cells as opposed to genetic evolution or other sources of variation in cancer cell properties.
Sean Morrison, Ph.D., Director of the Children’s Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI), and Corbin Meacham, Ph.D., an American Cancer Society Fellow at CRI, have evaluated the implications of new data for the cancer stem-cell model and the degree to which the model accounts for clinically important aspects of disease progression, like therapy resistance and metastatic dissemination. Read their research review published in Nature.
Sept. 3, 2013 — Glutamine is an abundant and highly versatile nutrient whose metabolism has implications for tumor cell biology, making it an appealing target for new clinical strategies to detect, monitor and treat cancer. Ralph DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Genetic and Metabolic Disease Program at the Children’s Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI); Ajla Wasti, M.D., a clinical fellow at CRI; and Chris Hensley, an M.D./Ph.D. student at CRI, have evaluated the metabolic functions of glutamine and its involvement in supporting tumor malignancy, in an effort to better understand how the information could be used in clinical oncology. Read their research review published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Aug. 26, 2013 — Sean Morrison, Ph.D., Director of the Children’s Research Institute at UT Southwestern, recently hosted a discussion on stem cell research at a Science Café event sponsored by the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Read an excerpt of his remarks.
Aug. 1, 2013 — An international team of researchers including Ralph DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Genetic and Metabolic Disease Program at the Children’s Research Institute at UT Southwestern, have found that the formation of new blood vessels is not only directed by genetic signals, but also by metabolism of glucose. The discovery opens up new opportunities to manipulate glucose metabolism to combat tumors and other diseases characterized by the formation of abnormal blood vessels. Read the research published in Cell.
July 25, 2013 — Researchers including Ralph DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Genetic and Metabolic Disease Program at the Children’s Research Institute at UT Southwestern, have discovered a metabolic activity that influences malignancy in renal cancer cells lacking the metabolic enzyme fumarate hydratase. In these cells, excess fumarate binds to the natural antioxidant glutathione, leaving the cell exposed to high levels of reactive oxygen species that reprogram gene expression. The discovery may help explain the puzzle of why some cancer cells contain excess fumarate, and suggest new ways to treat these cancers. Read the research published in Molecular Cell.
July 10, 2013 — Scientists led by Sean Morrison, Ph.D., Director of the Children’s Research Institute at UT Southwestern, have solved a problem that has long impeded researchers in their quest to understand the properties of blood-forming stem cells and their more specialized offspring.
They have discovered that combined use of a related family of cell surface receptors known as SLAM family markers can distinguish several biologically distinct subpopulations of stem cells and multipotent progenitors in the blood-forming system. This in turn has provided a way to study the distinct properties of each of these cell populations with greater precision than previously was possible.
As part of their research, Dr. Morrison and his team also examined the microenvironment in the bone marrow that nurtures the earliest blood-forming stem cells and discovered that these cells are all maintained in a perivascular niche created by endothelial cells and perivascular stromal cells associated with blood vessels.
The pair of discoveries will improve the ability of scientists to work toward reproducing blood-forming stem cells in the lab and increasing the safety and effectiveness of blood-forming stem cell transplants. Read the published research in Cell Stem Cell.