Molecular and Cellular Biology

2004 Recipient

debakeyawards-2004recipients (320x240)
Winners of the 2004 Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Excellence in Research Awards. From left: Monica J. Justice, Ph.D., Jeffrey M. Rosen, Ph.D., Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Margaret A. Goodell, Ph.D., and Nikolai A. Timchenko, Ph.D.

Stem cells in mammary gland development and breast cancer

Jeffrey M. Rosen, Ph.D., C.C. Bell Professor in the Departments of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Medicine, received the award for his research directed towards elucidating the mechanisms regulating normal mammary gland development, and how these regulatory mechanisms have deviated in breast cancer. Specifically, in collaboration with Dr. Peggy Goodell at Baylor College of Medicine, the Rosen laboratory was the first to isolate functional mammary gland stem/progenitor cells. In collaboration with Dr. Harold Varmus and his colleagues at Memorial Sloan Kettering, they also have investigated the role of stem/progenitor cells in the etiology of several different mouse mammary cancer models. These studies have led to the hypothesis that the clinical and genetic heterogeneity of breast cancer is a result of the activation of different oncogenes or loss of different tumor suppressor genes in specific stem/progenitor cells. The Rosen laboratory has also demonstrated the importance of the Wnt/ß-catenin pathway in mammary alveolar development, mammary stem/ progenitor cell self-renewal and survival, and finally resistance to conventional radiation therapy. These studies have important implications for our understanding of the etiology of breast cancer as well as the design of new therapeutic agents targeted to putative “cancer stem cells”.

Dr. Rosen’s nomination was based on the following publications:

Welm BE, Tepera SB, Venezia T, Graubert TA, Rosen JM, Goodell MA. Sca-1( pos) cells in the mouse mammary gland represent an enriched progenitor cell population. Dev Biol. 2002 May 1;245(1):42-56.

Li Y, Welm B, Podsypanina K, Huang S, Chamorro M, Zhang X, Rowlands T, Egeblad M, Cowin P, Werb Z, Tan LK, Rosen JM, Varmus HE. Evidence that transgenes encoding components of the Wnt signaling pathway preferentially induce mammary cancers from progenitor cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Dec 23;100(26):15853-8.

Lam MH, Liu Q, Elledge SJ, Rosen JM. Chk1 is haploinsufficient for multiple functions critical to tumor suppression. Cancer Cell. 2004 Jul;6(1):45-59.