Life Sciences Division
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
The Bissell laboratory is using murine mammary stem cells and human stem cells from reduction mammoplasty, together with bioengineered culture substrata and humanized mouse modes, to investigate the role played by the microenvironment in directing cell fate decisions. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie cell fate decision are of course important to our basic understanding of development, and in addition, due to functional similarities between cancer cells and stem cells, we believe that the same mechanisms used by normal cells also may be used by cancer cells and could explain how intra-tumor heterogeneity is evolved. Accordingly, we are determining whether the cell fate mechanisms identified in normal stem cells can be used to advantage therapeutically to treat mammary gland malignancies.