A 27-year old medical student at the University of Toronto discovers a way to deactivate the gene responsible for tumor growth and regeneration. Such an important finding that she has come to through her work on the characteristics of colon cancer stem cells for the past five years.
Antonija Kreso, the young researcher, has recently published her findings in Nature Medicine magazine. The study, that she lead-authored, used "small-molecule inhibitor...that made it impossible for the cancer stem cells transplanted in mice to self-renew." So the cancer was stopped in its tracks.
In 2014, Kreso will enter her third year of medical school and hopes to specialize in surgery. Her PhD supervisor is the well known stem-cell biologist Dr. John Dick, who, twenty years ago, identified for the first time cancer stem cells in leukemia. Dick praised Kreso's talent and dedication having worked on her approach alone. Dick works from Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto.
Kreso will continue her work from a lab in Toronto where she will be testing dozens medicines to see their effectiveness in killing cancer cells permanently.
The researcher will also continue to divide her work between her lab research and academic work, as she has the support of a number of scholarships.
Kreso grew up in Hamilton, the daughter of an electrician and a seamstress.
“By going after these cancer stem cells with very targeted molecules, we’re shrinking the tumour and getting rid of the key cells. The number one reason why patients die is because the cancer comes back. You can cut out a tumour very easily, give radiation and the patient will be fine but five, 10 years later the cancer comes back. This is really what our work is trying to address.
“We’re really targeting the root of the cancer.”
The Star: http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2013/12/29/people_to_watch_stemcell_researcher_aims_to_kill_root_of_cancer_recurrence.html