The cellular composition of colon cancer tumors is heterogeneous, we can find differentiated cells, similar to those of colon tissue, but also stem or pluripotent cells, responsible for tumor growth and metastasis. A study published in the journal Cell Stem Cell led by Dr. Edurad Batlle of the Institute of Biomedical Research (IRB), in which the team of Dr. Alberto Villanueva from IDIBELL/ICO has participated, shows that the ability to synthesize proteins, the biosynthetic ability, is what converts cells into pluripotent and allows them to contribute to the growth of the tumor in an unlimited way.
Several models have been used to study the biosynthetic capacity of tumor stem cells, including the implantation of human colorectal cancer tumors in mice, a model developed by Dr. Villanueva’s team. The set of models has shown that, by blocking the biosynthetic capacity of cells, or by eliminating cells that have this capacity, tumor growth is stopped, making this function an ideal target for future treatments.
The study describes that the ability to produce proteins is restricted to the regions of the tumor where the pluripotent cells are found, in addition, tumors show a gradient of protein production, and those cells that have lost this ability cannot return to the stem cell state.
Text adapted from the IRB website: https://www.irbbarcelona.org/ca/news/la-capacitat-biosintetica-clau-per-erradicar-les-cellules-mare-tumorals