NYAS On Cancer Stem Cells

It's all cancer all the time this week: the cancer research community is large, and the annual meetings generate a great deal of coverage from the popular science press. Here, the NYAS gives another of their excellent overviews: "Although the groundswell of interest in cancer stem cells is new, the concept has been around for more than 40 years. [It] languished until the mid-1990s, when researchers finally obtained the tools and knowledge to explore the hypothesis. ... Researchers believe that cancer stem cells are either stem cells that have mutated to undergo uncontrolled cell division and differentiation, or are already-differentiated tumor cells that through mutations have regained the ability to self-renew. ... If a normal stem cell acquires mutations, or one of its progenitor cells acquire mutations, this could form a cancer stem cell ... Still under discussion is how similar cancer stem cells are to normal stem cells. ... The 'stem cell' term implies that the cell is like normal stem cell but that may or may not be more accurate. 'Tumor-initiating cells' might be a more accurate definition. ... The opportunity for finding new targets and new mechanisms to attack cancer is extremely exciting. I think we have a lot of challenges ahead."

Link: http://www.nyas.org/ebriefreps/main.asp?intSubsectionID=5055

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