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A Study Of Cancer Stem Cells And Their Relationship To Tumor Biology

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A Study Of Cancer Stem Cells And Their Relationship To Tumor Biology

(CTN News) – Cancer stem cells are crucial for the development of effective cancer therapies and the treatment of cancer. Known as cancer stem cells (CSCs), these cells have the potential to significantly influence the development and progression of the disease.

Despite their name, cancer stem cells are capable of differentiating and self-renewing, resulting in relapses in patients after treatment.

In order to treat cancer effectively, therapeutics must target and attack CSCs. As well as covering the fundamental biology of CSCs, this article will also provide a brief overview of how innovative resources and services for the lab can be used to target cancer stem cells in biomedical research.

What is the process by which cancer stem cells develop?

In order for the body to develop normally, stem cells have the capacity to differentiate into muscles, bones, and organs.2

It is a continuous process for stem cells to replicate and mature. Despite their unique properties, stem cells occasionally manifest with catastrophic consequences, and cancer is their likely outcome.

Normally functioning stem cells develop CSCs when their genomes are mutated. The tumor originates from these cells, which make up a very small portion of the total tumor mass (around 0.01-2%) that can be really difficult to target with therapeutics.

Currently, cancer treatment focuses on treating the tumor mass as a whole, rather than directly targeting these problematic cells.

Tumor biology and cancer stem cells

The initiation of tumors is triggered by CSCs during tissue regeneration or after exposure to external carcinogens, such as toxins or radiation.1

In cancer, uncontrollable growth of cells may result from various mutations, including the overexpression of oncogenes and the inactivation of tumor suppressors. These mutations both have devastating consequences for normal cell growth and development. As a result of this unrestrained cell proliferation, tumors develop.

CSCs exhibit unstable genetic changes compared to proliferating cancer cells because of their specific properties. Tumors formed by CSCs may become increasingly aggressive, invasive, and resistant to treatments over time, eventually becoming metastatic and spreading to other tissues.

As CSCs initiate tumors and cause disease recurrences, many researchers have focused their efforts on identifying biomarkers of the cells in order to improve treatment.

In addition to targeting the tumor mass itself, any remaining CSCs may develop metastases, allowing the cancer to spread. For this reason, finding a way to target and enhance cancer stem cells is increasingly needed to enhance and innovate personalized biomedical solutions.

Targeting cancer stem cells: current approaches

There are numerous approaches to targeting CSCs, but they are limited in scope. Possibly disrupting the signaling pathways associated with these cells could be beneficial; however, CSCs and regular stem cells share several pathways, so this is a non-specific treatment.

Identifying specific surface markers on these cells could also be a potential treatment for cancer. It is, however, difficult to distinguish specific biomarkers that are not expressed on normal stem cells, which lowers the treatment’s accuracy and effectiveness3.

As a result of the different genetic and epigenetic landscapes of each individual patient, treatment with drugs also carries with them risks. This results in extremely variable responses and even severe side effects. Further, animal models are time-consuming, expensive, and less clinically translatable to human systems.

CSC therapies will be developed successfully if they can support the “stemness” of cancer stem cells outside of their physiological niche in vivo, which is crucial to developing suitable cell culture models.

Working with cancer stem cells in an innovative way

The isolation and culture of CSCs in vitro can be a difficult task if conventional approaches are used. To combat laboratory workflow challenges caused by CSCs, it is necessary to develop pioneering and specific solutions.

Promo Cell is a company with a strong focus on biomedical science as one of its key areas of expertise. Promo Cell provides researchers with resources to find answers and to initiate potentially groundbreaking treatments for pressing biological health challenges such as cancer. This is thanks to its team of scientific experts.

It is possible to isolate and culture cancer stem cells from tumor biopsies using Promo Cell’s Primary Cancer Culture System, as well as to determine cancer cell lines from tumor biopsies using this system.

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