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Targeting Developmental Signaling Pathways in Cancer Stem Cells for Drug Discovery

Targeting Developmental Signaling Pathways in Cancer Stem Cells for Drug Discovery

Thursday, December 7, 2006

The New York Academy of Sciences

Organizers: John Hambor and Michael Robbins, Pfizer

The underlying basis of many neoplastic diseases may be due to defective regulation of signaling pathways that control cellular proliferation and differentiation. It is now thought that normal self-renewing stem cells that persist throughout life become tumorigenic as a result of accumulated mutations and final transforming events that lead to dysregulation of their self-renewal pathways. Cancer stem cells, recently identified in a number of malignancies including leukemias and solid tumors, are rare cells with indefinite potential for self-renewal. Current clinical chemotherapies that eradicate primary tumors are rarely effective in preventing metastasis because of their limited ability to act on cancer stem cells that posses anti-apoptotic mechanisms and characteristically express drug-resistance proteins like ATP binding cassette transporters. The recent use of stem cell models to study the effect of oncogenes and oncogenic pathways has provided new insights into cancer. As our understanding of stem cell biology and its role in cancer emerges, the development and application of drugs that target stem cell differentiation and cell fate will provide novel therapeutic modalities for the management and treatment of malignant diseases. This symposium will offer a state-of-the-art perspective on drug discovery prospects for therapeutic approaches of cancer stem cells with a focus on the challenges that lie ahead.


12:30 PM Registration & Check-In

1:00 PM Introduction
Michael Robbins, Pfizer Global Research & Development

1:10 PM Dr. Austin Gurney, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals
"Therapeutic Strategies for Targeting Cancer Stem Cells"

1:50 PMDr. Elsa Quintana Fernandez, University of Michigan
"Stem Cell Self-Renewal and Cancer Cell Proliferation"

2:30 PM Dr. Hiromichi Kimura, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital - Memphis
"Functional imaging of targeted therapies in mice: Experience with a Shh pathway Antagonist"

3:10 PM Coffee Break

3:35 PM Dr. Jean Wang, University Health Network - Toronto
"Targeting of CD44 Eradicates Human Acute Myeloid Leukemia Stem Cells"

4:10 PM Dr. Ivan Bergstein, Stemline Therapeutics
"Identifying Novel Compounds that Target Cancer Stem Cells"

4:50 PM Closing Remarks
John Hambor, Pfizer Global Research and Development

Austin Gurney, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals
"Therapeutic Strategies for Targeting Cancer Stem Cells"
OncoMed Pharmaceuticals was founded in August 2004 with the mission of translating the cancer stem cell hypothesis into novel medicines capable of eradicating these tumor "progenitor" cells and halting the spread of solid tumors. Our research has provided a wealth of new insights into the character and function of cancer stem cells from a variety of solid tumor types. This work has continued to highlight the fundamental importance of cancer stem cells as a key target for the development of new and more efficacious anti-cancer therapeutics.

Elsa Quintana, Ömer H. Yilmaz, and Sean J. Morrison; Howard Hughes Medical Institute:
"Stem Cell Self-Renewal And Cancer Cell Proliferation"
Recent advances have highlighted extensive phenotypic and functional similarities between normal stem cells and cancer stem cells. This raises the question of whether it will be possible to develop therapies that eliminate cancer stem cells without