UCLA scientists use stem cells to study genetics of germ cell tumors

UCLA researchers have made new inroads into understanding germ cell tumors, a diverse and rare group of cancers that begin in germ cells — the cells that develop into sperm and eggs. The researchers developed a protocol to recreate germ cell tumor cells from stem cells and used the new model to study the genetics of the cancer.Their findings could point the way toward new drugs to treat germ cell tumors, which account for around 3 percent of all cases of childhood and adolescent cancer.The study, published in Stem Cell Research, was led by Amander Clark, a UCLA professor of molecular cell and developmental biology and a member of theEli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA.Germ cell tumors most often develop during embryonic development, in the testes and ovaries, but they can also occur in the spine, chest and brain when germ cells mistakenly migrate there.UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center/ElsevierEmbryonal carcinoma cells expressing the PRDM14 proteinThere are five subtypes of germ cell tumors: germinomas, embryonal carcinomas, yolk sac tumors, choriocarcinomas and teratomas. Each has its own unique properties, but most of them affect young children, adolescents and young adults.“What makes this cancer really hard to study is that we think the disease begins in the womb and then remains latent until after birth or during young adulthood,” Clark said. “That means we can’t easily isolate or study the ...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

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