Cancer cell of origin and tumour heterogeneity

Prof. MD. Cédric Blanpain is a world leader in the field of stem cells and cancer. He has also been elected Outstanding Young Investigator Award by the International Society of Stem Cell Research and has been selected by the most prestigious Nature journal among the 10 world-leading researchers that mattered in 2012.
Prof. MD. Cédric Blanpain studies stem cells during development and tries to understand how the different cells start acquiring their cell identity, how the adult stem cells enable tissue renewal throughout the life of the animals and how the stem cells mediate tissue repair following injuries. His laboratory also studies whether stem cells act as the cancer cell of origin and whether cancer stem cells fuel tumor growth and mediate resistance to anti-cancer therapy. He recruits new researchers to mark cardiac stem cells at the very beginning of their formation and succeeds in tracing the entire genealogy of the formation of the heart, finding the embryonic origin of the cardiac cells. This is how he shows that the heart is made of “spare parts”, the cardiovascular progenitors are indeed born at different moments and differentiate themselves into different cardiac cells and contribute to the formation of the different parts of the heart (Lescroart F., Nature Cell Biology 2014).
“A stem cell is like the mother of all cells … it gives birth to other cells that allow tissues to grow and differentiate into the cell lineages that form our different tissues. There are several types of stem cells: the pluripotent embryonic stem cells, the embryonic progenitors, the adult stem cells, and the cancer stem cells.”