Tumor Stem Cells multiply and fuel Cancer: Study

As per latest research tumors have been found to contain their own pool of stem cells that can multiply and keep fueling the cancer, seeding re-growth. The study deals with a different type of cancer stem cells.

What are Stem cells?

  • Stem cells are special cells found in all multi-cellular organisms. These cells have potential to multiply, to self- renew and to transform into diverse cells which can carry specific functions. On a broader basis Stem cells can be classified into two groups:
  1. Embryonic stem cells
  2. Adult stem cells

Embryonic Stem cells are pluripotent cells wich can multiply and transform into any of the 3 germ layers (Endoderm, Mesoderm and Ectoderm).

Adult stem cells or somatic stem cells are undifferentiated cells found throughout the body after development. They replenish dying cells and regenerate damaged tissues. They can be found in juvenile as well as adult humans or animals.

Note: Most of the stem cell therapies are based on Adult stem cells, plus, there use for research purposes is not as controversial as researches using embryonic stem cells as the former can be obtained from adult tissue samples rather than destroyed human embryos.

Classification can also be made on the basis of Potency of the cells.

What is Potency in the context of cytology (cell biology)?

  • It is nothing but the potential of a cell to differentiate into diverse cells. Potency can be many types:
  • Totipotency- potential to differentiate into any type of cells. Eg. Spores and Zygote
  • Pluripotency- potential to differentiate into any of the 3 germinal layers (Endoderm, mesoderm and ectoderm).
  • Note: Pluripotent cells alone are not capable of differentiating into extra-embryonic tissue such as Placenta
  • Multipotency- these cells can also generate multiple but limited kind of cells. For eg. Blood stem cells can diffentiate only into various type of Blood cells but they cannot give rise to Nervous cells.

Applications of Stem cells:

  • In the treatment of diseases like leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, and muscle damage.

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