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Researchers Identify Stem Cell Source of Key Process in Female Reproduction

Each month during women’s reproductive years, the uterus sheds and regenerates the tissue lining its walls in preparation for a pregnancy or the next cycle. The process behind this age-old and essential part of human reproduction is not well understood. But recent research led by Yale pathologist Wang Min identifies stem cells and a gene that contribute to this monthly event.

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  • Insight on ovarian cancer

    Ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose at early stages. Once it has spread beyond the ovaries, it is more challenging to treat and can be fatal. During metastasis, ovarian tumor cells detach from the primary tumor site and migrate to the abdominal cavity, where their survival is supported by white blood cells known as tumor-associated macrophages. In a recent study, senior author and Yale pathology professor Wang Min demonstrated that the tumors release substances called cytokines to attract macrophages, which then secrete growth factors that promote tumor cell growth and proliferation. The study reveals a mechanism that provides researchers with a promising target for treating ovarian and other metastatic cancers.

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