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The Art in Science

Product Image Room to Grow

Room to Grow

Elise Pfaltzgraff, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Pediatrics, Hematology-Oncology (Lawlor and Wellik Laboratories), University of Michigan Medical School

This is a tissue section from the forelimb growth plate of a 5 week-old mouse. The tissue has been stained with dyes that distinguish different cell types. SafraninO (Red) stains cartilage. The nuclei of all cells are dark blue. Green labels the connective tissue cells. Here we see normal cartilage cells of the growth plate as they mature to give rise to new bone. Genetic mutations in these progenitor cells can hijack their normal development and lead to the creation of aggressive cancer of bone called Ewing sarcoma. Instead of forming healthy cartilage and bone, as pictured here, mutated cartilage progenitor cells give rise to tumor cells. Understanding how these cells transform into cancer will provide novel insight into this devastating disease that is in need of better therapies.