AUG 30, 2016 8:00 AM PDT

Endoderm Progenitors in Health and Disease

  • Martin Pera, PhD

    Professor, Chair of Stem Cell Sciences, Program Leader, Stem Cells Australia, The University of Melbourne, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Florey Neuroscience and Mental

Using human pluripotent stem cells as a screening platform, we have identified a novel cell surface maker that identifies foregut endoderm progenitors in pancreas and liver.  We have shown that   cells of the biliary reaction, a regenerative response to liver damage, premalignant and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cells, and the columnar epithelium of Barrett’s Oesophagus, a preneoplastic precursor of oesophageal carcinoma, all express this antigen on their surface.  The antigen is expressed in liver and pancreas during development, and  is also found in the serum of patients with pancreatic or liver cancer.  Cell surface antigens expressed on fetal stem or progenitors cells provide biomarkers of tissue regenerative processes, and can be used to monitor progression neoplasia if repair processes fail to resolve the underlying pathology.

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