Brain cancer stem cells from a brain tumor
Normal stem cells are characterized by their ability to divide indefinitely and generate all of the specialized cell types that make up their host tissue. Cancer stem cells are remarkably similar but possess a key difference: they generate cells that give rise to tumors. Conventional chemotherapy may fail to eliminate cancer stem cells from a tumor, so while the tumor initially shrinks in size, it could eventually grow back and cause an aggressive relapse. Understanding the molecules that distinguish cancer stem cells from other cells will arm researchers with the knowledge to generate targeted therapies against cancer stem cells.
Image by Dr. Biplab Dasgupta, Jane Anderson, Shabnam Pooya, Mariko DeWire, and Lili Miles, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.