Newswise — October 16, 2013 -- Scientific advances in the differentiation of embryonic stem cells to form functional thyroid follicles and in genome sequencing to identify cancer-related gene mutations and drive the development of more effective, targeted therapeutics are beginning to move from the "bench to the bedside" and have important clinical implications for people with thyroid disease. Recent discoveries in these two exciting fields and their path from the research laboratory to the clinical arena will be explored in timely and provocative Plenary Lectures presented at the 83rd Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association, October 16-20, 2013, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan, Hicks Endowed Professor of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School, and Director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology (MCTP), which aims to develop new molecular tests and therapeutics for human disease with a primary focus on cancer, will deliver a Plenary Lecture entitled "The Application of the Integrative Sequencing for Precision Oncology." Dr. Chinnaiyan is a leader in the use of genome sequencing technology to discover cancer-driving gene mutations, which can serve as the basis for identifying novel targets for drug development. The goal of precision oncology is to develop new drugs that can recognize and eliminate cancer cells without harming healthy cells and causing the adverse effects associated with conventional chemotherapeutic agents.
Dr. Sabine Costagliola, Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Interdisciplinary Research in Human and Molecular Biology, Université libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium, will deliver a Plenary Lecture entitled "Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation into a Functioning Thyroid Gland." Dr. Costagliola's laboratory recently demonstrated the ability to generate functional thyroid tissue from mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) grown in a three-dimensional cell culture system. They induced the pluripotent stem cells to differentiate to form thyroid follicular cells. Following exposure to human thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), these thyroid follicular-like cells formed 3D structures that displayed molecular, morphological, and functional properties similar to those of "real" thyroid follicles. When transplanted into mice, these mESC-derived thyroid follicles developed into functioning thyroid tissue.
"The two Plenary Lectures featured at the ATA meeting review state-of-the-art thyroid research," says Hossein Gharib, MD, MACP, MACE, Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN, President-Elect of the American Thyroid Association, and Past-President of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. "One, by Dr. Costagliola, discusses applications of stem cells in developing thyroid function. This is an important area to treat anyone with thyroid deficiency, whether congenital or acquired. The other, by Dr. Chinnaiyan, explores how genes and mutations can cause cancer, and how genome sequencing can be used to diagnose and treat cancer.
About the ATA
The American Thyroid Association (ATA) is the leading worldwide organization dedicated to the advancement, understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disorders and thyroid cancer. ATA is an international individual membership organization with over 1,700 members from 43 countries around the world. Celebrating its 90th anniversary, ATA delivers its mission through several key endeavors: the publication of highly regarded monthly journals, THYROID, Clinical Thyroidology (CT), VideoEndocrinology and CT for Patients; annual scientific meetings; biennial clinical and research symposia; research grant programs for young investigators, support of online professional, public and patient educational programs through www.thyroid.org; and the development of guidelines for clinical management of thyroid disease. Visit www.thyroid.org for more information.