Cancer stem cells and other advances in a hot scientific field
Human embryonic stem cells have garnered extensive attention as potential future treatments for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, spinal cord injury, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and other diseases. Stem cells also may be the key to developing new treatments for certain types of cancer, according to an article scheduled for the Jan. 15 issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the ACS' weekly news magazine.
Written by C&EN Associate Editor Sarah Everts, the article describes how cancer stem cells are fostering a revolution in cancer research, with the realization that stem cells are key players in breast, blood, colon and bone cancer. Evidence suggests that conventional treatments kill ordinary tumor cells but spare the cancer stem cell, which continues to produce additional malignant cells.
The article is part of a C&EN cover story package on stem cells. Another part by Everts describes critical advances by chemists and other scientists in this high-profile field. Researchers, for instance, are defining the environmental conditions that are best for deriving and growing stem cells, including small molecules that can make a normal cell more like a stem cell. A third segment, by C&EN Associate Editor Susan R. Morrissey, discusses how the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office is reexamining several key patents previously granted for embryonic stem cells. Features on C&EN Online chart the business of stem cells and describe how scientists are working to use these cells as replacements for animal models in toxicological testing and disease research.