CTV.ca | Canadian researchers 'create' leukemia stem cell

CTV.ca | Canadian researchers 'create' leukemia stem cell: "TORONTO -- Imagine if scientists could peer into the blood and see the very first aberrant cells that will give birth to leukemia and then watch as the disease slowly progresses and takes over the body.

Well, Canadian researchers have done just that - converted normal human blood cells into leukemia stem cells, then transplanted them into lab mice and witnessed the disease unfold.

'You can study certain things about human cancer by studying the cancer itself,' said principal researcher John Dick, a stem cell biologist at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. 'But the one thing you can't study is what were the sequence of events that happened in the months and years before that process that actually led to that disease.'

The groundbreaking research involved infecting cells from umbilical cord blood with a virus engineered to carry one of the genes known to cause certain types of leukemia. The genetic alteration created primitive leukemia stem cells, which were then injected into specially bred lab mice."