Researchers have used a novel screening method to identify chemicals that may selectively kill cancer stem cells, a small subset of cancer cells with the ability to self-renew and maintain a tumor (Gupta PB et al. Cell. 2009;138:645-659). The findings have significant clinical implications for treating many types of cancer.
“Relative to the other cells in a tumor, cancer stem cells are resistant to many kinds of chemotherapy drugs and to radiation treatment; therefore, it is important to find new therapies that specifically target this class of cell,” said first author Piyush Gupta, PhD, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
Hampton T. New Screening Tool Identifies Chemicals That May Destroy Cancer Stem Cells. JAMA. 2009;302(18):1958. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1589