As published in the June 1 issue of Genes & Development, Dr. Leonard Zon (Children’s Hospital Boston) and colleagues have identified the cancer stem cell for rhabdomyosarcoma, the most common soft-tissue sarcoma of childhood.
According to Dr. Zon, identification of the cancer stem cell and the evolutionarily conserved genetic programs underlying self-renewal in ERMS will likely lead to new insights into how to destroy these cell types in established malignancies.
Dr. Zon and colleagues have developed an animal model to identify and test therapeutic targets of human ERMS. The scientists artificially activated the RAS pathways to induce ERMS in a strain of genetically engineered zebrafish. Some transgenic zebrafish developed visible tumors by 10 days of age.