Therapeutic approaches to target CSCs

Searching for powerful therapeutic approaches that specifically target CSCs is an accelerating area of research, after the discovery that CSCs significantly influence metastatic diseases and drug resistance. For instance, relapse is a result of a small CSCs population's survival which has self-renewal ability. If these CSCs are not exterminated by chemotherapy or targeted disruption of the SHH or NOTCH signaling pathways, they stay dormant in the target organs or bone marrow until triggered to regenerate the heterogeneous cell populations of a tumor [55]. But, attention should be focused on whether all solid tumors are sustained by CSCs and whether cell surface specific markers could be found that differentiate between normal SCs and CSCs. A great improvement will be achieved in cancer therapy when CSCs are selectively eliminated, while normal SCs are spared and thus left unaffected. Identification of a specific CSC marker in cancer of interest would simplify the development of anticancer drugs that eliminate the CSCs from the tumor cell population [56].

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