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Cancer Stem Cells and Cancer

BY: Nidhi Uppangala | Category: Stem-Cells | Submitted: 2010-07-07 20:34:11
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Article Summary: "Cancer stem cells are the one from which tumors originate, these tumor cells have same properties like normal stem cell such as multipotency and self-renewal ability. Scientists are arguing that cancer is a stem cell disorder and not a simple disruption in the cell mechanism.."

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Stem cells are undifferentiated cells, with capacity to undergo unlimited cell division. These undifferentiated stem cells when added specific growth factors to the media can be differentiated into different cell types. Stem cells can be differentiated into nervous system, heart muscle; cartilage, bone marrow, pancreas and much more, such ability of stem cells can be used in regenerative medicine.

Cancer stem cells are the one from which tumors originate, these cells have same properties like normal stem cells such as multipotency and self-renewal ability. Unregulated cell growth which is seen in tumor or cancer may be a result of disruption in the regulatory mechanism of stem cell cycle (renewal) or in other words some scientists are arguing that cancer is a stem cell disorder and not a simple disruption in the cell mechanism. These cancer stem cells persist in tumor as a group of cells that likely induces cancer to relapse and metastasis in patients.

Cancer Stem Cell Development:

The molecular pathway responsible for the development of cancer stem cell is complicated, indicating that deregulation can occur at multiple sites, these changes will turn off the homeostatic balance and will lead to the formation of abnormal cells or cancerous cells or transformed cells also known as malignant cells.

Characteristics of Cancer Stem Cell:

1. Cancer stem cells or stem cells of tumor are not the same type of stem cells which are studied as potential cure for all diseases or disorders.
2. These cancer stem cells develop because of mutations. These mutations are accumulated over years or often decades. These mutations are thought to promote the ability of cancer stem cells or tumor stem cells ability to proliferate continuously and this ultimately leads to the condition known as cancer.

Cancer Stem Cells and Solid Tumors:

1. Scientists and researchers discovered that the cancer stem cells may cause some forms of bone cancer in University of Florida.
2. Osteosarcoma occurs right next to the active centre of growth in growth plates of long bones. In these area of the skeleton many number of stem cells divide rapidly and help in developing bone during the adolescent growth spurt. A stimulated, abnormal stem cell produces as a result of rapid cell division might become origin of osteosarcoma. Researchers were able to isolate stem-like cells from these tumors, at a ratio of 1 in every 1,000 cells in the sample showed features of embryonic stem cells, and also researchers found chemical compounds which help in maintaining embryonic stem cells in a primitive state.
3. Cancer stem cells are also found in breast cancer, colorectal cancer,hepatocellular carcinoma.

Targeting Right Cells:

In traditional chemotherapy methods, chemical compound target the cancer cells which are formed by cancer stem cells. These targeted cells do not have the capacity to form a new cell but they divide repeatedly to form bulk of the tumor. A population of cancer stem cells, which give rise to a number of cancer cells, remain untouched by the chemotherapy compounds.
We can cure condition known as cancer by designing a specific therapy which targets the cancer stem cells, can improve the life span and quality of life of cancer patients, especially patients with metastasis (cancer spread throughout the body).

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