Keystone Symposia: Stem Cells, Cancer and Metastasis

Venue: Keystone Resort

Location: Keystone, Colorado, United States

Event Date/Time: Mar 06, 2011 End Date/Time: Mar 11, 2011
Registration Date: Mar 06, 2011
Early Registration Date: Jan 06, 2011
Abstract Submission Date: Nov 04, 2010
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Several concepts regarding the origins of cancer and metastasis have converged in recent years. In particular, special interest has focused on the possibility that tissue specific stem cells and cancer cells displaying the properties of these cells play fundamental roles in the malignant process. These concepts have been supported by studies of mouse models in which predictable patterns of tumor spread and access to both primary and metastatic lesions has allowed molecular analyses. With regard to primary tumors, emerging evidence suggests that important cancers, including those in the colon and brain, may arise directly from mutated progenitor cells that display deviant differentiation within "stem cell-niches". Tumors appear also to contain stem-like cancer cells that are both necessary and required to propagate the disease. These findings overlap with observations of metastasis that suggest tumor dissemination may be driven by critical changes in tumor cell differentiation, including epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), and the migration of malignant stem cells to "pre-metastatic niches". We believe the time is ripe for a joint conference that will bring together scientists and clinicians with interests in stem cell biology, cancer and metastasis. The meeting will provide a forum for exchange of information and insights between these rapidly moving fields. In addition to increasing the sharing of key scientific approaches we believe this conference will galvanize collaborative efforts among disparate research communities to address several key outstanding questions: (i) What is the relationship between normal and malignant tissue stem cells? (ii) What is the relationship between cancer stem cells and the so-called "metastatic precursor", that is capable of indefinite proliferation at the new metastatic site? (iii) What are the interactions between stromal and stem-like cancer cells in primary and metastatic disease sites? How do these interactions facilitate disease propagation and metastatic spread? (iv) How should we monitor in vivo the biology of stem-like cells in primary tumors and metastasis? (v) What are the optimal approaches to target therapeutically stem-like cancer cells in primary and metastatic disease? By focusing on these questions, we aim to elicit exciting fundamental biological discussions with significant translational application.