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Séminaire impromptu - Samuel Weiss “Brain tumour stem cells and STAT3 oncogenic signaling in Glioblastoma "

Abstract :

 My laboratory discovered a mammalian central nervous system (CNS) stem cell that can be induced to divide in cell culture and in the intact brain, and produce the three major cell types of the CNS - neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. Remarkably, this CNS stem cell is present in both embryonic and adult mammalian (from rodent to human) brain. Recent evidence suggests that the adult human brain stem cells may be at the origin of the malignant human brain tumour – glioblastoma multiforme (glioma).

Thus, the current research goal of the Weiss laboratory is to gain insights into the aberrant cell biology mechanisms of human brain tumour stem cells (BTSCs) that may lead to brain tumour initiation, therapeutic resistance and recurrence. During the past few years, we have established close to 100 BTSC lines from human glioma patients. These BTSC lines display many of the fundamental characteristics of stem cells such as ability to grow as neurospheres under serum-free conditions, multilineage differentiation and clonogenicity. Importantly, they maintain the key parental tumour mutations and mimic human tumour growth in vivo in orthotopic xenografts in NOD SCID mice. We were the first group to report the establishment of BTSC lines with endogenous expression of the IDH1 mutant enzyme and our BTSC library has lines with many of the key characteristic mutations reported in glioma. Read more...

Selected publications

Luchman, H.A., Stechishin, O.D., Nguyen, S.A., Lun, X.Q., Cairncross, J.G., and Weiss, S. (2014) Dual mTORC1/2 blockade inhibits glioblastoma brain tumor initiating cells in vitro and in vivo and synergizes with temozolomide to increase orthotopic xenograft survival. Clinical Cancer Research 20(22):5756-5767

Sarkar, S., Döring, A., Zemp, F.J., Silva, C., Lun, X., Wang, X., Kelly, J., Hader, W., Hamilton, M., Mercier, P., Dunn, J.F., Kinniburgh, D., van Rooijen, N., Robbins, S., Forsyth, P., Cairncross, G., Weiss, S. and Yong, V.W. (2014) Therapeutic activation of macrophages and microglia to suppress brain tumor-initiating cells. Nature Neuroscience 17(1):46-55.

Koivunen, P., Lee, S., Duncan, C.G., Lopez, G., Lu, G., Ramkissoon, S., Losman, J.A., Joensuu, P., Bergmann, U., Gross, S., Travins, J., Weiss, S., Looper, R., Ligon, K.L., Verhaak, R.G.W., Yan, H. and Kaelin, W.G. (2012) Transformation by the (R)-enantiomer of 2-hydroxyglutarate linked to EGLN activation. Nature 483:484-488.

Mak, G.K. and Weiss, S. (2010) Paternal recognition of adult offspring mediated by newly generated CNS neurons. Nature Neuroscience 13:753-758.

Scientific focus :

Samuel Weiss, PhD, is a Professor in the Cumming School of Medicine’s Departments of Cell Biology and Anatomy and Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of Calgary. An Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Scientist, he received his BSc in Biochemistry from McGill University and his PhD in Neurobiology from the University of Calgary. He is the inaugural and continuing director of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary whose mission is to translate innovative research and education into advances in neurological and mental health care. The Hotchkiss Brain Institute is now a world class research institute of 450 scientists and trainees, along with 300 professional staff.

Dr. Weiss’ own explorations into the brain have changed the fields of developmental neurobiology and neural regeneration, and have earned him one of the world’s most prestigious medical science awards, a Gairdner International Award. Dr. Weiss was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2009, and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2014.

Collaboration avec les Canadiens

The Hotchkiss Brain Institute is now a world class research institute of 450 scientists and trainees, along with 300 professional staff. Samuel Weiss and Jaideep Bains are visiting Bordeaux Neurocampus on May 10 th and 11th in order to discuss future collaborations between the 2 research communities.


All the group leaders interested are welcome for a lunch buffet at 13:00 in the Neurocampus atrium. Please indicate your name on the following doodle for the logistic organization of this lunch.