Published on August 2nd, 2012 | by Steven Hodson0
Cancerous Tumors Tracked Back To Stem Cells
Well this latest news on the medical science front could prove to be not only interesting but potentially revolutionary as well.
It seems that three different groups of researchers have found that they can track cancerous growth in mice back to a specific subset of cells that can be found in skin cancer, brain cancer, and stomach cancer. The researchers are all quick to point out that this discovery isn’t going to lead to a cure, and in fact could end up being highly controversial, but they believe that cancerous growths can be traced back to a specific set of cells.
One study found that certain types of brain cancer carry specific genetic markers that are very similar to those found in healthy neural stem cells.
Another of the studies found that the gut produced color coded cancer stem cells that would react to different drugs by lighting up in color and more specifically tumors of different cell types are all a single color. This suggests to the researchers that different types of cancerous cells come from a single stem cell.
It is too soon to know whether these results — obtained for tumours of the brain, the gut and the skin — will apply to other cancers, says Luis Parada at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who led the brain study. But if they do, he says, “there is going to be a paradigm shift in the way that chemotherapy efficacy is evaluated and how therapeutics are developed”. Instead of testing whether a therapy shrinks a tumour, for instance, researchers would assess whether it kills the right sorts of cell.