Stress can re-ignite dormant tumor cells to cause cancer recurrence months or years after completing of successful treatment. A mixed animal and human study by an international group of researchers established that norepinephrine and cortisol, stress hormones released into the bloodstream when the level of stress is elevated, start a chain of biochemical events ultimately leading to reactivating the tumor cells. One of the findings in the human part of the study was the beta-blocker’ class of drugs ability to inhibit stress hormone signaling which prevented the reactivation of cancer cells. This finding opens up the possibility of beta-blockers use for cancer recurrence prevention. The study was published in Science Translational Medicine.
Researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona and Columbia University in New York City found a way to produce more hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) – self-renewing stem cells crucial for treating cancer, as well as other serious diseases. The scarcity of such cells has always presented a problem. While these cells are typically derived from bone marrow and circulating and cord blood this research established another way of getting them – by reprogramming other blood stem cells. The researchers used a special algorithm to identify a gene capable of reprogramming blood stem cells to acquire hematopoietic stem cell properties. This research boosts the opportunity for more patients to benefit from hematopoietic stem cell treatments. The study was published in Cell Reports.