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Mikhail Kolonin, Ph.D.
assistant professor of molecular medicine, IMM, and GSBS
Research Work: Adipose Stem Cells and Cancer Progression
Studying fat tissue as a source of adult stem cells led the way to an important theory undertaken by Mikhail Kolonin, Ph.D. Kolonin’s theory suggests that there is a link between fat tissue stems cells and how they influence the progression of cancer and obesity. “
According to my theory, adipose (fat tissue) stem cells influence cancer progression through their effect on the formation of new blood vessels, the process necessary for expansion of tumor mass,” he explained.
Kolonin’s work has the potential of leading to new lines of therapy for treating these life-threatening epidemics.
“Understanding the possible involvement of adipose cells in tumor growth is critical for strategizing cancer treatment,” he said. “In the future, depletion of the adipose vascular progenitor cell pool could become an approach to obesity and cancer prevention and therapy. In addition, our studies will help to address the safety of adult stem cells currently being tested as therapeutics.”
Kolonin combines conventional biochemistry, cell and molecular biology with advanced proteomic and bioinformatic approaches to find new markers of adult stem cells. He said there are currently no markers available to distinguish fat tissue stem cells from other types of mesenchymal progenitor cells found in most organs of the body. Mesenchymal cells are a type of cell that can develop into connective tissue, blood vessels and lymphatic tissue.
“Identification of adipose stem cell markers will lead to a better understanding of the relationship between different types of adult stem cells and of their pathogenesis,” Kolonin said.
Recently, Kolonin has pioneered the design of a new treatment that allows targeted removal of fat tissue.
“This, and follow up drug prototypes, may lead to the development of approaches to obesity therapy,” he said. “In the future, targeted depletion of adipose tissue through this approach also may become a cancer treatment complementary to drugs directed at tumor cells.”
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