Apr 10, 2018

New cancer stem cell marker also kills off cancer cells

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Fluorescent dye not only highlights but also kills cancer stem cells.

Korean and Singaporean scientists have recently proposed a new probe to detect cancer stem cells, and it might be an effective seek-and-destroy weapon against a variety of cancer types.

In a paper published in the journal Angewandte Chemie earlier this month, the researchers describe a fluorescent dye that they created to highlight cancer stem cells, and, as it turns out, the dye does more than that—it may actually be lethal to the cells it binds to [1].

Cancer stem cells in brief

Cancer stem cells (CSCs, also known as TICs, tumor-initiating cells) are exactly what they sound like; they are cancerous cells that exhibit stem cell-like abilities to self-renew and differentiate into the other cell types found in a given tumor. Discovered at the end of the 90s, these cells are the real culprit behind cancerous growth, being able to give rise to both to other CSCs and cells that, while non-tumorigenic themselves, are still part of a tumor—they descend from a cancer stem cell but do not have the same ability to divide uncontrollably. This is according to the CSC model of cancer; according to the stochastic model, it might be possible that every cell in a tumor has the ability to self-renew and differentiate, not only cancer stem cells, and the truth might be not so clear-cut, with some tumors following one model and others following the other [2].

Read more

Comments are closed.