Clonality is the key to understanding intestinal stem cell and tumour biology
by Dr Douglas Winton, Cancer Research UK, Cambridge Research Institute - firstname.lastname@example.org
18 October 2011, 1pm
The biology of stem cells has become relevant to cancer research with the concept that tumours are maintained by minor populations of 'cancer stem cells'. An assumption underlying this concept is that stem cells are discrete, stable and long- lived populations. Yet contemporary views of how cells achieve different differentiated states link the existence of interacting gene networks to the generation of transcriptional noise that is set by cell context such that cells occupy a variety of stable states. Stem cell populations are likely to be meta-stable with stemness being a proper
ty that can be both lost and acquired rather an enduring function of a discrete population. Our goal is to define a functional biology for intestinal epithelial stem populations by measuring properties that are integral to stemness and to do this entirely in situ without altering cell context.