Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and their corresponding marker antibodies are often used in cancer research, since cell-renewal is a feature shared by both ESCs and cancer cells. The drawback is that there is no clear evidence of a transcription program common to both cell types. However, in a study (Wong et al. 2008), it was described how comparison of human and murine ESC-like gene modules had isolated a catalog of 335 genes, which could be used as a “core ESC-like gene module” for tumor studies.
The publication described how a gene map was constructed to analytically relate the transcriptional programs of adult tissue stem cells, embryonic stem cells and cells from human cancers. The map revealed two predominant gene modules which correlated adult tissue stem cells with ESCs.
Tumors with an embryonic stem cell-activated signature are associated with higher mortality rates and faster and more frequent progression to metastasis. The ESC-like transcriptional program similarly activated in human epithelial carcinomas, and showed a pronounced prediction of cell death and metastasis.
In human epithelial keratin-cells mutated by I kappa B alpha and Ras, c-Myc increases the incidence of oncogenic cells 150 times, leading to tumor formation. In antibody studies, the oncogene c-Myc was shown to reactivate ESC-like transcription in both normal and tumor cells. The study suggested that establishing a transcriptional program, using core-ESC like genes and antibody markers in adult human cells may be a useful way to induce the pathologic features of tumor cells for in vitro research.
We at Novus Biologicals have over 3000 products in our core-ESC antibody database. They are widely used for study into cellular processes and cancer formation.