Friday, September 7, 2012
Cancer “stem cells” identified?
As reported by Pallab Ghosh, Science correspondent, BBC News, “Three separate studies on mice appear to have confirmed the view that the growth of tumours is driven by so-called cancer stem cells.”
Ghosh highlights the importance of these findings noting that “Doctors often successfully reduce the size of tumours through various therapies, but often patients suffer a relapse and the tumour regrows.”
This is consistent with what I heard at the ABTA’s Patient and Caregivers event as well as what I’ve read on websites like It’s Just Benign and the National Brain Tumor Society’s My.BrainTumorCommunity.org site.
The article goes on to say that “Some researchers believe that this happens because therapies fail to eradicate a small proportion of cells that drive tumour growth known as cancer stem cells. They believe that these are the cells that should be targeted to eliminate the tumour forever.
Evidence for the existence of cancer stem cells has been weak. But now three separate groups of researchers working independently have found direct evidence of cancer stem cells driving tumour growth in brain, gut and skin cancers. “
According to Prof Cedric Blanpain of the Free University of Brussels, who led one of the studies, the results could pave the way for a new approach to treating many cancers. "If these cells are indeed the cells that fuel tumour growth then maybe you can target these cells," he told BBC News.
Here’s a link to the article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19083685