Stem Cell Plasticity and Niche Dynamics in Cancer Progression
Cancer stem cells are believed to be the sole initiator and driver of tumor growth, given their self-renewal and tissue restoration properties. Their eradication may offer the ultimate in targeted tumor treatment. We challenge the strict hierarchical view of cancer stem cells and investigate the hypothesis of a plastic, niche-dependent stem phenotype, where the niche dictates the cell’s ability to maintain its stem-like state. We develop a two-dimensional hybrid discrete-continuum cellular automata model to describe the cell scale dynamics of multicellular tissue formation, and its environmental regulation.