Iron Depletion in Cancer Stem Cells Causes Loss of Stemness – Helping to Establish New Cancer Treatments

November 30(Thu), 2017

Toshiaki Ohara, Assistant Professor at the Department of Pathology and Experimental Medicine, Takayuki Ninomiya, Assistant Professor (Instructor: Toshiyoshi Fujiwara, Professor) at the Department of Gastroenterological Surgery, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and their research team used the cell model from “A new PDAC mouse model originated from iPSCs-converted cancer stem cells” developed by Masaharu Seno, Professor at the Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology at Okayama University and discovered for the first time ever that the depletion of iron (Fe) in cells using iron chelator agents causes a loss of stemness. This effect had never been observed in regular oncologic drugs. This result was published in the online version of the U.S. cancer treatment magazine “Oncotarget” on October 12, 2017.

There are many suggested treatments for life-threatening cancers. One possible reason for cancer to be able to “tolerate” treatment is the existence of “cancer stem cells,” cells within a cancerous tumor which have stemness. However, there is no effective treatment against cancer stem cells currently.

In order to solve this issue, Professor Ohara and his team focused on iron. Iron is a trace element that is essential to human health, but iron overload is known to cause cancer. Is it believed that cancer also uses iron in the human body effectively to survive, and therefore, controlling iron in cancer cells could threaten cancer’s survival. This accomplishment may help develop new cancer treatments.

Article Information

Authors: Takayuki Ninomiya, Toshiaki Ohara, Kazuhiro Noma, Yuki Katsura, Ryoichi Katsube, Hajime Kashima, Takuya Kato, Yasuko Tomono, Hiroshi Tazawa, Shunsuke Kagawa, Yasuhiro Shirakawa, Fumiaki Kimura, Ling Chen, Tomonari Kasai, Masaharu Seno, Akihiro Matsukawa and Toshiyoshi Fujiwara
Journal: Oncotarget
Title: Iron depletion is a novel therapeutic strategy to target cancer stem cells
Year of Publication: 2017
Volume: 8

Okayama University Silicon Valley Office (OUSVO)

Contact: Mototaka Senda, Ph.D.

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Cancer Stem Cells、 Iron depletion, iPSCs

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