Posted on 10 September 2015
Killing these cells is like ripping out the roots of a weedThe company is testing their theory by sourcing different human tumours, and growing them in mice with a compromised immune system. They then take a tiny slice of each tumour and implant it in another mouse. If the tumour continues to grow, then it contains one of these nasty stem cells. The scientists then set about trying to find any markers on these cells that they can target with drugs. Do stem cells really cause cancer? This is being intensely debated but we don’t have definitive proof yet. There’s convincing evidence that some forms of cancer arise in this manner, but not every kind. Opposing research recently showed that a quarter of melanoma cells can continue to cause cancer in another host, making it unlikely a few unique stem cells are to blame.
“The ultimate proof is when, by targeting only the stem cells, you eradicate the cancer”The only way to know for sure it to test the hypothesis, so that’s what the company is trying to do. Whether this theory proves widely applicable is uncertain, but an successful drugs could pack a powerful punch against certain types of cancers. Read more at Technology Review