Scientists Make Stem Cells Glow to Track Growth of Cancer Cells

A team of researchers at Duke University, USA have found a way to track cancer mutation by making the stem cells glow, reported science magazine Cosmos.

In the study, published in the Journal Nature Communications, researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute were able to tag colon cancer mutations from a pre-malignant stage onwards, using this technique.

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Joshua Snyder, Co-senior author and assistant professor, department of surgery and cell biology, Duke University“This study provides new insight into the previously invisible process in which mutant, precancerous stem cells spread throughout the colon ad seed cancer.”

Using this dyeing technique, researchers tagged several common colon cancer mutations in the stem cells of a single tumour to create a ‘fluorescent barcode’.

When transferred to a mouse, the fluorescent stem cells could be easily tracked.

In this way, the researchers found key differences in how the intestinal habitats common to babies and adults grow pre-cancerous fields of mutant cells.

Apart from tracking the mutations of colon cancer cells, Snyder is confident the ‘fluorescent barcode’ technique could be used to view the cancer fields in breast cancer as well.

Snyder also added how this simple fluorescent imaging could potentially lead to earlier diagnosis and in turn more efficient treatment in the future.

(Written with inputs from Cosmos and ANI)

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