It is proposed that tissue stem cells may be the ones that, when mutated, result in cancer growth. Tumor stem cells (TSCs), like their normal counterparts, are thought to be able to enter a state of quiescence. This property might explain the pause in progression observed in cancer patients deemed cured and recurrence might result from the ability of quiescent TSCs to resume proliferation in secondary sites. Professor Aguirre-Ghiso's research is aimed at understanding the switch between the proliferation and quiescence programs of TSCs and how these mechanisms contribute to the development of minimal residual disease in cancer. Aguirre-Ghiso believes it is most likely linked to a reversible silencing of a self-renewal program that activated TSC dormancy. These studies may be helpful in the design of strategies to maintain TSCs quiescent or eradicate them while quiescent through specific targeting.
Schewe, D.M., Aguirre-Ghiso, J.A. (2008). ATF6 (alpha)-Rheb-mTOR signaling promotes survival of dormant tumor cells in vivo. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA . 2008 Jul 29;105(30):10519-24. Epub 2008 Jul 23.
Ranganathan, A.C., Ojha, S., Kourtidis, A., Conklin, D.S., Aguirre-Ghiso, J.A. (2008). Dual function of pancreatic endoplasmic reticulum kinase in tumor cell growth arrest and survival. Cancer Res. 2008 May 1; 68(9):3260-8.
Aguirre-Ghiso, J.A. (2007). Models, mechanisms and clinical evidence for cancer dormancy. Nat Rev Cancer. 2007 Nov; 7(11):834-46. Review.Julio A. Aguirre-Ghiso