Gabriela Dontu

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Application of stem cell biology to breast cancer research has been limited by the lack of simple methods for identification and isolation of normal and malignant stem cells. Utilizing in vitro and in vivo experimental systems, we show that normal and cancer human mammary epithelial cells with increased aldehyde dehydrogenase activity (ALDH) have(More)
Although the existence of mammary stem cells has been suggested by serial transplantation studies in mice, their identification has been hindered by the lack of specific surface markers, and by the absence of suitable in vitro assays for testing stem cell properties: self-renewal and ability to generate differentiated progeny. We have developed an in vitro(More)
Although the concept that cancers originate from stem cells (SC) is becoming scientifically accepted, mechanisms by which SC contribute to tumor initiation and progression are largely unknown. For colorectal cancer (CRC), investigation of this problem has been hindered by a paucity of specific markers for identification and isolation of SC from normal and(More)
The epithelial components of the mammary gland are thought to arise from stem cells with a capacity for self-renewal and multilineage differentiation. Furthermore, these cells and/or their immediate progeny may be targets for transformation. We have used both in vitro cultivation and a xenograft mouse model to examine the role of hedgehog signaling and(More)
Tumors may be initiated and maintained by a cellular subcomponent that displays stem cell properties. We have used the expression of aldehyde dehydrogenase as assessed by the ALDEFLUOR assay to isolate and characterize cancer stem cell (CSC) populations in 33 cell lines derived from normal and malignant mammary tissue. Twenty-three of the 33 cell lines(More)
Although the concept that cancers arise from "stem cells" or "germ cells" was first proposed about 150 years ago, it is only recently that advances in stem cell biology have given new impetus to the "cancer stem cell hypothesis." Two important related concepts of this hypothesis are that (a) tumors originate in either tissue stem cells or their immediate(More)
Notch signaling has been implicated in the regulation of cell-fate decisions such as self-renewal of adult stem cells and differentiation of progenitor cells along a particular lineage. Moreover, depending on the cellular and developmental context, the Notch pathway acts as a regulator of cell survival and cell proliferation. Abnormal expression of Notch(More)
PURPOSE To examine the role of cancer stem cells (CSC) in mediating metastasis in inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) and the association of these cells with patient outcome in this aggressive type of breast cancer. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN CSCs were isolated from SUM149 and MARY-X, an IBC cell line and primary xenograft, by virtue of increased aldehyde(More)
We have used in vitro and mouse xenograft models to examine the interaction between breast cancer stem cells (CSC) and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). We show that both of these cell populations are organized in a cellular hierarchy in which primitive aldehyde dehydrogenase expressing mesenchymal cells regulate breast CSCs through cytokine(More)
The main focus of this review is the role of mammary stem cells in normal breast development and carcinogenesis. We have developed a new in vitro culture system that permits, for the first time, the propagation of mammary stem and progenitor cells in an undifferentiated state, which should facilitate the elucidation of pathways that regulate normal mammary(More)