Cancer Stem Cells and Microenvironment

Chapter
Part of the Cancer Drug Discovery and Development book series (CDD&D)

Abstract

The theory of the cancer stem cell (CSC) is fairly recent and has both challenged and disrupted the previous understandings of cancer biology. From the initial findings of cancer-driving cellular sub-populations, the interest in the CSC theory has flourished. Here we discuss the biology behind both embryonic and adult stem cells and how this biology is the basis for our understanding of CSCs. Furthermore, we elaborate on findings demonstrating the importance of the microenvironment on the stem cell and how changes in the microenvironment alone may direct stem cell differentiation or possibly tumorigenesis. Cancer research has taken a new fork in the road towards the involvement of CSCs and this road has been productive. However, the challenge remains in understanding and identifying CSCs independently from the embryonic and adult stem cell models of the past. Moving beyond the preconceived understanding of stem cells will allow researchers to be able to fully explore the complexity and role of CSCs in cancer and hopefully provide the knowledge necessary to combat cancer from that first initiating cell.

Keywords

Leukemia Shrinkage Lysine Haas Medulloblastoma 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biology Department, Sbarro Health Research OrganizationTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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