Research Topic

Normal and Neoplastic Thyroid Cell Biology with an emphasis on Thyroid Stem Cells

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The etiology, pathogenesis, and molecular mechanisms underlying the development and progression of specific subtypes of thyroid cancer are not fully understood. The identification of thyroid stem cells in normal thyroid and, subsequently, thyroid cancer stem cells in thyroid tumors illustrates their potential ...

The etiology, pathogenesis, and molecular mechanisms underlying the development and progression of specific subtypes of thyroid cancer are not fully understood. The identification of thyroid stem cells in normal thyroid and, subsequently, thyroid cancer stem cells in thyroid tumors illustrates their potential role in tumor initiation, progression and resistance to therapy. Indeed, such stem cells are likely to be critical to the design of new, more effective therapeutics for affected patients than current approaches.

Stem cells, both normal and malignant, are characterized by their ability to undergo symmetrical and asymmetrical division as well as to differentiate into a multitude of cell types. The recent generation of functional thyroid tissues from stem cells in mice have led to exciting insights into the maintenance and regulation of normal stem cells in the thyroid and have provided valuable tools for the characterization of molecular processes associated with embryonic thyroid development and disease. In addition, mounting evidence indicates that a subpopulation of thyroid cancer cells is critical for tumor initiation and metastasis. These thyroid cancer stem cells are resistant to chemotherapy and radiation therapy and are likely to contribute to thyroid cancer relapse. They are major obstacles to effective thyroid cancer treatment.

Understanding how thyroid stem cells are regulated, and how their dysregulation may give rise to cancer stem cells is a critical step in the development of effective therapies for affected patients.

In this Research Topic, we are calling for original research articles, reviews and mini reviews and methods regarding thyroid embryogenesis and development, thyroid cell biology and the characterization of normal and malignant thyroid stem cells, the generation of functional thyroid tissue from stem cells and via induced pluripotent stem cells, the molecular and signaling pathways that modulate normal and neoplastic thyroid cells, the potential therapeutic applications of in vitro generated thyroid cells, and future challenges in thyroid cancer therapy and regenerative thyroid medicine.


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