Breast cancer stem cells under the spotlight

Griffith University’s Associate Professor Alejandro Lopez has helped to develop a means of identifying breast cancer stem cells which are suspected of being the trigger for cancer growth.

The joint research project involves scientists from Griffith University’s School of Biomolecular and Physical Sciences, and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.

Associate Professor Lopez said the team was working towards making breast cancer stem cells the target of specific cancer therapies, to improve current treatment outcomes.

“We have described a method to identify specific proteins which are found in those stem cells, so it may be possible to identify their location and study them,” Associate Professor Alejandro Lopez said.

“This will help us establish why breast cancer stem cells are different from other cells and potentially how to stop them from developing into cancer.”

The work was initiated by Griffith student Brian Morrison as part of his PhD research.

Professor Jeff Gorman from QIMR’s Protein Discovery Centre said this latest research was an example of scientific collaboration at its best.

The research paper, Proteomic Comparison of MCF-7 Tumoursphere and Monolayer Cultures has been published in the open-access online journal PLOS ONE.