New hope for cancer treatment: Exploring the distinction between normal adult stem cells and cancer stem cells

Robert Chunhua Zhao, Ya Shu Zhu, Yufang Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

For decades, intensive studies have attempted to identify the mechanisms underlying malignant tumor growth. Despite significant progress, most therapeutic approaches fail to eliminate all tumor cells. The remaining tumor cells often result in recurrence and metastasis. Recently, the idea of a cancer stem cell was proposed to explain of the origin of cancer cells. According to this hypothesis, a small fraction of tumor cells have the capacity for self-renewal, with unlimited slow proliferation potential. They are often resistant to chemotherapy and radiation and thus are responsible for continuously supplying new cancer cells, which themselves may have a limited life span. In recent years, accumulating experimental evidence supports this hypothesis and provides new possibilities to conquer cancer. This review will focus on the distinction between normal adult stem cells and cancer stem cells and identifies possible key targets for effective therapies of cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-82
Number of pages9
JournalPharmacology and Therapeutics
Volume119
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

Keywords

  • Cancer stem cell
  • Cancer treatment
  • Stem cell

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