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Understanding Mechanisms that Contribute to Early Changes in Cancer Stem Cells

Treatment-resistant cancer poses a significant threat to animal health and well-being. Recent evidence from a number of cancer studies suggests the existence of a population of cancer stem cells that give rise to and perpetuate tumor growth. In addition, cancer stem cells are thought to provide a chemotherapy resistant pool of cells that lead to disease recurrence. However, the mechanisms that drive cancer stem cell formation and the acquisition of chemotherapy resistant properties are not well understood. The objective of this research is to identify early changes in the stem cell environment that contribute to cancer stem cell formation. These changes may include altered cell division polarity and the accumulation of genetic damage. Completion of this research will provide important insights supporting the design of future therapeutics to block cancer progression.

Dr. Alex Davies, Pfizer Animal Health–Morris Animal Foundation Fellowship, University of California–Davis