Convergence Lab Member Piyush Gupta identifies gene required for differentiation of breast stem cells

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A novel analytical method has enabled Whitehead Institute scientists to identify a regulatory gene required for breast stem cells to differentiate. Inhibition of this gene, known as RUNX1, prevents cells from exiting the stem cell state.

“We’re very excited about this finding, as it suggests a new solution to the problem of expanding stem cells in culture,” says Whitehead Member Piyush Gupta. “Rather than trying to recreate stem cell niches in the lab, which is extremely challenging, one could simply trap stem cells in a bipotent state by inhibiting genes required for them to differentiate, such as RUNX1. This alternative approach opens up a world of possibilities for regenerative medicine.”

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