Understanding stem cells to defeat cancer

Many researchers believe that the underlying cause of cancer resides in a problem with the regulatory system of stem cells reproduction. We now know for a fact that cancers also possess their very own stem cells.

Stem cells are quite invaluable because, with only a few cells, they are able to give birth to a complete system. Some of these cells persist into adulthood, as they have the particular ability to multiply through successive divisions for an indefinite period of time, and to give birth, in certain conditions, to one or more branches of various cellular elements such as nerves, muscles and blood for example. This is what enables both healthy and malignant tissues to regenerate themselves. In addition, many researchers believe that the underlying cause of cancer resides in a problem with the regulatory system of stem cells reproduction. We now know for a fact that cancers also possess their very own stem cells.

This would explain, in part, why certain cancers are so difficult to treat. The fact is that while current treatments destroy a great majority of the cells in a malignant tumour, they often leave stem cells intact. Therefore, we could believe that if we succeed in killing the stem cells in a tumour, we could indeed cure certain cancers that remain, at this point in time, very difficult to treat.

If stem cells are so terrible, can we eradicate them? Studies conducted on animals suggest that it is very hard to do so. For some unknown reason, stem cells seem resistant to standard chemotherapies. Many experiments have been and still are being conducted to find the mechanism that will allow scientists to eradicate these terrible stem cells. A thorough understanding of the biology of stem cells could therefore eventually lead to the discovery of an effective weapon against cancer that is so coveted by researchers the world over. This would be a marvelous accomplishment indeed!

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