Cancer Research UK and its commercial arm Cancer Research Technology (CRT) have formed a team of scientists who have expertise in cancer stem cell research to identify new targets which will be able to detect, monitor and treat cancer.
Four renowned research groups have been chosen to collaborate on a two-year research project to figure out the role of cancer stem cells in the development and spread of tumors in breast, prostate and head and neck cancers.
In the past it had been thought that all the cells in a tumor are the same, but now it is known that there is a small number of slow-growing cells that do not respond to the standard ways of treatment. These unresponsive stem cells are believed to be the reason for the resistance to common therapies and the spread of tumor cells to other parts in the body.
According to Medical News Today, scientists do not know how cancer cells can be identified and eliminated. The Cancer Stem Cell Consortium plans to develop tests and models to refine a set of proteins, known as biomarkers, that are present on cancer stem cells in three different types of tumors, in order to find drugs that can treat the cancer. The team also wants to identify new biomarkers in the quest for new cancer drugs.
Professor Fiona Watt, deputy director of Cancer Research UK and leader of the consortium, said, “Conventional treatments-which do not target cancer stem cells - may shrink a tumor initially but they don’t prevent regrowth or spread of the tumor.”
Watt went on to say, “At the moment there is limited information on the ways scientists could target cancer stem cells. But I hope that knowledge generated by our team of experts will help in the development of potential new therapies to treat difficult to beat cancers.”
Dr. Phil L’Huillier, CRT’s business development director said the following, “We’ve selected the world’s leading experts in cancer stem cell research to push the frontiers of knowledge in this important field. Targeting cancer stem cells is an important strategy in the fight against cancer.”
Source: Medical News Today