An article published April 1st in online magazine, The Scientist, explains how a flood of new discoveries has refined our definition of cancer stem cells. Now it’s up to human clinical trials to test if they can make a difference in patients.
From the article:
“In the 30-year battle waged since the initiation of the “war on cancer,” there have been substantial victories, with cures for childhood malignancies among the most important. Our ever-expanding understanding of cellular and molecular biology has provided substantial insights into the molecular underpinnings of the spectrum of diseases we call cancer. Yet, while researchers view this as tremendous progress, many patients have seen only limited improvement. In fact, the relatively modest gains achieved in treating the most common malignancies have caused some to say that we are actually losing the war on cancer.
Based on new intelligence, oncologists are making informed battle plans to attack a particularly pernicious enemy—the cancer stem cell. Controversial though they are, cancer stem cells are an incredibly promising target. If treatment-resistant cancer, and the metastases that transplant the cancer throughout the body, could be attributed to the actions of a single cell type, it could explain many of the treatment failures and provide a novel way to attack the disease.”
Read more about this exciting research and its implications: