Epigenomic Regulation of Cancer Stem cells (CSCs)
Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs) are defined by their ability to efficiently give rise to tumors in xenografts from as little as one cell. Various cell surface markers are used to select these cells from the tumor population. CSCs make up, on average, 1-5% of primary tumors. CSCs are thought to contribute to the most lethal aspects of cancer; they are drug resistant, lead to tumor recurrence, and more recently, are thought to be drivers of metastasis. If we are to eradicate cancer cells from the body, we need a better characterization of cancer stem cells. We are using epigenomic approaches to understand how the cancer stem cell fate is different from the remaining tumor population, and how this may contribute to the above noted attributes of this unique subset of cells.
Current projects in the lab related to this topic include:
- Comprehensive Epigenomes of Ovarian CSCs. We are using both mouse xenografts and cell culture systems to characterize ovarian CSCs derived from human tumors.
- Investigation of CSCs as Drivers of Metastasis. We are using a number of approaches to determine if metastatic cells are enriched for CSCs.