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2014 Featured Talks » Stem cell principles applied to colon cancer: tracing clonal dynamics and targeting self-renewal



Part One

Part Two

Stem cell principles applied to colon cancer: tracing clonal dynamics and targeting self-renewal


Antonija Kreso, PhD
University of Toronto




Antonija Kreso, PhD
University of Toronto

Antonija Kreso completed her Ph.D. studies at the University of Toronto under the guidance of Dr. John Dick. Her work focuses on understanding the processes that govern intratumoural diversity and approaches that can be taken to target tumour cells. Working primarily on colon cancer, she led the first study to identify functional diversity amongst cells that are part of one genetic clone in colorectal cancer (Science, 2013). By simultaneously assessing the genetic and functional properties at the resolution of single cells, she uncovered a large degree of previously unrecognized functional diversity within uniform genetic clones. Dormant colon cancer clones were identified that survived chemotherapy and fuelled tumour recurrence, establishing that intraclonal diversity not only contributes to tumour maintenance under homeostasis, but also ensures survival during therapy. In addition, in collaboration with Dr. Catherine O’Brien, Dr. Kreso has worked on understanding stem cell properties in colon cancer, identifying several regulators of colon cancer stem cells (Cancer Cell, 2012). Most recently, she was the lead author on a study that directly established self-renewal as a vital property of colon cancer stem cells, and used clinically relevant reagents to inhibit self-renewal mechanisms, thereby efficiently targeting colon cancer stem cells (Nature Medicine, 2014). This work established that targeting the biological process of self-renewal is a promising therapeutic approach to treat cancer. Currently, Antonija is working towards completing her M.D. degree at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto in Canada.