Researchers from the Eli and Edythe Broad Centre of Regenerative Medicine & Stem Cell Research at UCLA have found a certain protein which is responsible for the transformation of healthy cells into prostate cancer cells. This protein normally controls the self-renewal of the prostate cells or the restoration of normal cells destroyed by the withdrawal therapy for cancer.
According to previous studies,this protein, known as Bmi-1, has been previously associated with higher grade cancers and is also responsible for poor prognosis. Recent studies and experiments by the team have also revealed that a less Bmi-1 expression hinders the self renewal activities of prostate cells and diminishing its power of abnormal growth changes, thus leading to cancers.
As put by Dr.Owen Witte, the leading author of the study and the director of the Broad stem Cell Research Centre, ‘We conclude by these results that Bmi-1 is a crucial regulator of self renewal in adult prostate cells and plays important roles in prostate cancer initiation and progression’.
With years of active empirical research and studies of the whole mechanism of self-renewal in prostate cells and how their ability to do so is often seized by cancer cells, the scientists have thrown light on the spread of these malignant cells. Dr. Witte even expressed that if some more information could be developed about this renewal process, it would have been easier for the researchers to hinder the process once the cancerous cells set in.
Finding more insight into the regulation of the self-renewal process seems to be the primary objective of the team. According to Rita Lukacs, a doctoral student in Dr. Witte’s team, ‘Prostate cancer can be initiated by so many different mutations, if we can find a key regulator of self renewal, we can partially control the growth of the cancer no matter what the mutation is’.