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Primer Polycomb Group Genes: Keeping Stem Cell Activity in Balance

By Martin Sauvageau and Guy Sauvageau


The capacity to undergo self-renewal—to generate daughter cells having the same potency and regenerative properties as the parent—is what defines stem cells. Understanding the molecular mechanisms governing this process remains the holy grail of stem cell biology and holds great promise for the development of stem cell–based therapies aimed at treating debilitating and lifethreatening diseases such as cancer. Interestingly, there is support for the idea that several cancers (e.g., blood, brain, breast, melanoma) are made of different cell types, but are driven and sustained mainly by a rare population of “cancer stem cells ” that, like normal stem cells, can self-renew and also give rise to non–stem cell progeny. This concept predicts similarities in the genes that regulate self-renewal of normal and cancer stem cells and further emphasizes the importanc

Year: 2013
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