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A single stem cell mutation triggers fibroid tumors

•, Marla Paul
Despite the high prevalence of the tumors, which occur in 60 percent of women by age 45, the molecular cause has been unknown.

New Northwestern Medicine preclinical research has for the first time identified the molecular trigger of the tumor --- a single stem cell that develops a mutation, starts to grow uncontrollably and activates other cells to join its frenzied expansion.

"It loses its way and goes wild," said Serdar Bulun, M.D., the chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "No one knew how these came about before. The stem cells make up only 1 percent of the cells in the tumor, yet they are the essential drivers of its growth."

The paper is published in the journal PLoS ONE. Masanori Ono, M.D., a post-doctoral student in Bulun's lab, is the lead author.  

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