Stem cells participate in dynamic physiologic systems that dictate the outcome of developmental events and organismal stress, Since these cells are fundamental to tissue maintenance and repair, the signals they receive play a critical role in the integrity of the organism. Much work has focused on stem cell identification and the molecular pathways involved in their regulation. Yet, we understand little about how these pathways achieve physiologically responsive stem cell functions. This chapter will review the state of our understanding of stem cells in the context of their microenvironment regarding the relation between stem cell niche dysfunction, carcinogenesis and aging.

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David Scadden’s laboratory is dedicated to discovering the principles governing blood cell production, with the ultimate goal of guiding the development of therapies for blood disorders and cancer.

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