Cancer Stem Cell Program

About Cancer Stem Cell

The Cancer Stem Cell Program is based on two pivotal findings made by program members:

  • Only a small percentage of cells in tumors, the cancer stem or initiating cells, drive the growth and metastatic capability of tumors. These cells must be eliminated to achieve a complete therapeutic response. 
  • Cancers frequently arise as the consequence of changes in cells’ self-renewal pathways. 

The Program postulates that self-renewal is a critical function of both cancer stem cells and their normal counterparts and that self-renewal pathways may be co-opted in the process of oncogenesis to support tumor growth.

Based on these concepts, the overall goal of the Program is to identify and characterize self-renewal pathways in model systems, normal tissues and solid tumors. These efforts require the strong integration of basic research with preclinical studies within the program, as well as collaboration with clinical investigators in other programs.

Program Directors

Karel H. and Avice N. Beekhuis Professor in Cancer Biology
Virginia and Daniel K. Ludwig Professor in Cancer Research