The limited effectiveness of the current therapeutic modalities for long-term cure of cancer was attributed to the existence of a subpopulation of cancer stem cells (CSCs) which are highly drug resistant and determines all the major tumor features. Professor Botchkina's research is focused on the identification, enrichment and thorough genomic and proteomic characterization of CSCs of different cancer types and different phenotypes. The team is developing a working colon and prostate CSC models for obtaining highly tumorigenic and clonogenic cells in sufficient numbers, which is necessary for studying common features of stemness and common mechanisms of drug resistance, as well as for preliminary CSC-targeted drug testing. Several different phenotypic populations of colon and prostate cancer cells with profound in vivo tumorigenic potential and ability to form floating colonospheres in 3D culture systems were characterized with genome-wide gene expression analysis (microarray), and cancer and stemness pathway-specific PCR-arrays. This data provides a basis for further analysis of drug effects and identification of novel targets for CSC-focused drug development.
Botchkina, I.L., Rivadeneira, D.E., Watkins, K., Karpeh, M.S., Botchkina, G.I. (2008). Clinical significance of telomerase activity in peritoneal disseminated cells: gastrointestinal cancers. Mol Med. 2008 Jan-Feb; 14(1-2):45-54.