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Using cell metabolism to battle cancer

Cancer stem cells might be able to be blocked.

By focusing on how cancer stem cells metabolize, researchers may have uncovered a new way to defeat them: by attacking their energy supply.

Drug resistance is a sizable problem for cancer treatment. Medications that might initially work will soon become ineffective.

Scientists from the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center in Ann Arbor are focusing on how cancer stem cells fit into this problem.

Cancer stem cells are a small subpopulation of the cells in a tumor. Like standard stem cells, they are able to give rise to a range of cell types.

They are thought to play a vital role in cancer relapse and metastases because they are usually left untouched by standard chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

As lead study author Dr. Max S. Wicha claims, “When we use targeted therapies, they often only work for a certain period of time, and then the cancer becomes resistant. A lot of that resistance is from the cancer stem cells. They change form to evade the targeted therapy.”

Because of this shape-shifting ability, Dr. Wicha concludes that “we’re going to need multiple stem cell therapies to attack multiple forms of stem cells.”

Read on: Using cell metabolism to battle cancer

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