Targeting Cancer Stem Cells
Intratumoral heterogeneity is thought to be generated during 1) the process of tumor formation and metastasis, and 2) the course of cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In both cases, a specific cell population known as “cancer stem cells” possess characteristics such as tumorigenicity and resistance to cancer therapy, and are considered to give rise to phenotypically diverse progenies, resulting in intratumoral heterogeneity. Therefore, in the establishment of new therapeutic methods and drug development for treatment-resistant cancer, important approaches are to suppress treatment-resistant traits and to identify specific molecules expressed in cancer stem cells. In this project, we have successfully identified cell surface markers and molecular groups that are selectively expressed in a cancer stem cell population of several types of cancers, including breast cancer (see ref.). We continue to search for novel molecules as therapeutic targets.
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