British researchers said that understanding of cells could be accelerated by new ways of identifying and studying cancer stem cells in the lab.
"Cancer stem cells drive the growth of a tumor. If we could target treatments against these cells specifically, we should be able to eradicate the cancer completely. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy work against all rapidly dividing cells," he explained. "But there is increasing evidence that cancer stem cells are more resistant than other cells to this treatment. Cancer stem cells that have not been eradicated can lead to later recurrence of cancer," said Dr Trevor Yeung, of Oxford University's Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine.
A new method of harvesting samples rich in cancer stem cells derived from bowel cancer cell lines and maintaining them in simple cell cultures in the lab was developed by Yeung and colleagues.
For isolating stem cells of cancer they used biological markers, established cell lines, which were placed in largely standard cell culture conditions after being collected.
The researchers said by using this approach cancer stem cells and their roles in tumor growth could be described.