Scientists have learned how liver cancer cells are created. They managed to reproduce them without mutations and foreign genes.
A group of scientists from Okayama University in Japan managed to develop cancer stem cells (CSCs) from induced stem cells (iPSCs) simply by exposing them to a favorable living environment without using mutations or foreign genes. “This is the first successful creation of cancer cells in the world without genetic manipulation,” the scientists noted.
Normal induced stem cells are one type of stem cell that under certain conditions can regenerate and develop into any type of human tissue. The team placed iPSC mouse cells in an air-conditioned environment from cell lines of hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer.
To find out if the conversion occurred, scientists evaluated whether the cells form malignant tumors. Therefore, they introduced cells into the liver of immunodeficient mice. Only 28 days after the injection, malignant tumors formed in the liver. In contrast, untreated iPSC formed teratoma-like tumors with various germ layers, which were benign.
This work proves that cancer cells could emerge from normal stem cells under conditions of chronic inflammation without a genetic mutation. It also provides a model of how liver cancer cells can be metastasized. Using the model this study will establish, it will be possible to develop and test more targeted medications and possibly discover methods for preventing liver cancer.