The Oxford Stem Cell and Cancer Institute (OSCI) was established in 2008 with funding from the Oxford Martin School. The OSCI comprises over core and affiliated 40 laboratories across Oxford and recognizes that the development of more effective stem cell and anti-cancer therapies would benefit from cross-disciplinary research that breaks the traditional taxonomic barriers boundaries between cancer, development and regenerative medicine.
For example, the ability of transplanted stem cells to survive in their new environment is something that cancer performs very effectively; cells that leave the primary tumour are readily able to colonize new tissues to form metastases. Understanding the process of metastatic spread will therefore inform regenerative medicine.
Research on the stem cell niche, or on the molecular mechanisms that drive the physiological process of stem cell renewal is relevant to understanding how the tumour microenvironment will trigger the genesis of cancer stem cells.
Similarly, the generation of induced pluripotent cells by reprogramming factors is very similar to the pathological reprogramming of cells that occurs in cancer.
The OSCI aims to break the barriers between these related fields to promote synergistic interactions directed towards delivering effective stem cell-related therapies.
Some of the key questions we are addressing include: