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Are these cells the origin of cancer growth?
The toxic side effects of treating cancer through chemotherapy and radiation lead to serious and very uncomfortable side effects. Physicians have now identified a new goal for therapy. This is a so-called original cell, which could serve as an approach for the treatment of cancer in the future.
In their current study, the University of Salford scientists came to the conclusion that the successful identification of a cell of origin from cancer could greatly improve the chances of a successful treatment of the disease. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Frontiers in Oncology".
How is cancer currently being treated?
The side effects of chemotherapy and radiation in the treatment of cancer are often terrible for the patient. Despite the treatment, there is still a risk that the cancer will reappear and tumors will spread throughout the body. If cancer cannot be cut out by surgery, the diseased cells are burned by radiation or poisoned by chemotherapy. Cancer remains a terrifying diagnosis for patients, and treatment options are limited.
Why are many anti-cancer drugs ineffective?
Around 95 to 98 percent of the new cancer drugs actually fail due to phase III clinical trials, the phase in which new therapies are compared with existing treatment options, the researchers say. Most drugs do not target the cause of the condition: the cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells, also called tumor-initiating cells, are the only cells in the tumor that can form a new tumor. New therapies that specifically target and eliminate these cancer stem cells are required to prevent the growth and spread of tumors, the doctors explain. In the current investigation, the experts now seem to have found such a goal. Cells in various types of cancer have been identified and then isolated, which are referred to as the parent cell.
Do these cancer cells initiate uncontrolled cell proliferation?
Experiments on cancer cells derived from a human breast tumor have shown that stem cells, which make up 0.2 percent of the cancer cell population, have special characteristics. They generate enormous amounts of energy and spread quickly. Doctors believe that they resemble the original cancer cell that escaped aging, the natural process of cell aging and cell death. It is believed that these are the first cancer cells to initiate the process of uncontrolled cell proliferation and cause the formation of tumors.
Will there be drugs specifically for cancer stem cells soon?
These cancer stem cells experience growth, which is also called a suspension. This leads to metastasis, the spread of cancer through the blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. These properties represent a new target for cancer therapy, the authors of the study explain. After the cancer stem cells have been identified and how they behave, it should be relatively easy to develop cancer stem cell drugs, doctors add. In their study, the scientists have already shown that the cells can be easily targeted with a mitochondrial inhibitor or a cell cycle inhibitor such as ribociclib, which could prevent their proliferation. Ultimately, this means that focusing on energetic cancer stem cells may offer a much more targeted treatment. Eventually, it will be possible that cancer will be transformed into a manageable chronic illness like diabetes, say the doctors. (as)