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Recent identification of stem-cell like cancer cells in different solid tumors has opened a new era of cancer research. The ability of these cancer stem cells (CSCs) to self-renew and differentiate into bulk cancer cells is believed to explain the heterogeneic nature of the human tumor. Moreover, the fact that CSCs are highly resistant to different chemotherapies suggested that CSCs may also contribute to treatment failure and disease relapse. Isolation and thorough characterization of the CSCs are therefore crucial in understanding the origin of cancer as well as the reason of disease progression. The ultimate goal of this study is to develop novel therapeutic approaches in targeting this scarce CSC population which we believed to be the 'root' of prostate cancer and eventually lead to the prevention or improved treatment of this disease.
Targeting cancer stem cells can sensitise prostate tumour to conventional cancer therapies.
Aim 1: Isolate and characterise prostate cancer stem cells
Aim 2: Examine the sensitivity of prostate cancer stem cells to conventional cancer therapies
Aim 3: Test the effect of combining anti-cancer stem cell agent with conventional cancer therapies using in vitro and in vivo prostate cancer models
Methods and techniques that will be developed in the course of this project:
- magnetic/fluorescence activated cell sorting
- cell culture
- cell proliferation and viability assays
- mouse prostate cancer xenograft model
- live animal imaging