Drug to Target Cancer Stem Cells!
Stem cells which are being tested to treat several diseases due to their innate capacity of division and differentiation into other body cell types were found to be the main culprits in patients suffering from cancer during the research studies conducted 2008 by Robert A. Weinberg.
Cancer stem cells were found in cancer tumors that grew in number by rapid cell division increasing the illness.
Even though several new and effective drugs are being manufactured aimed at killing the cancer cells, these are proving to be ineffective. The reason behind this is the proliferation of cancer stem cells, which is filling up the gap created by the dead cells. As soon as the drug begins to show its effect on the cells, and cells get killed, cancer stem cells are recruiting new cells.
Scientists are now coming up with drugs and treatment techniques that are targeted at these cancer stem cells.
Piyush Gupta, a co-researcher of Robert A. Weinberg, has done extensive research on the way a drug affects cancer stem cells within a tumor.
Currently, a very few conventional anti-cancer drugs are having an impact on these cancer stem cells.
Taking this fact into consideration, Gupta began the process of screening nearly 16000 unique compounds with the hope of finding drugs that can have a long lasting effect on cancer stem cells.
Through this screening, he found Salinomycin, an antibacterial to be effective in attacking large chunks of cancer stem cells in the breasts.
Verastem, a start up company, is focusing on this antibacterial compound to develop an anti cancer drug from it that can attack cancer stem cells only.
Another start up company, OncoMed, is also into cancer stem cell research. Its researchers are working towards finding ways to decrease the self-renewal capacity of these cells.
Lives of cancer enduring people throughout the world can be saved, if these studies come up with a permanent solution to cancer.