Cancer treatment research is currently focusing on a type of cell called a cancer stem cell, responsible for some instances of the disease.
Notoriously difficult to treat, these cancer cells are resistant to current treatment yet are thought to hold valuable information that could herald a breakthrough in cancer treatment.
Targeting the cancer stem cell in conjunction with currently available treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation is the concept being explored by cancer researchers.
The issue is explored in an article by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), which is published in the journal Science.
Co-authors Dr Craig Jordan, professor of medicine at URMC and director of the James Wilmot Cancer Center Translational Research for Hematologic Malignancies programme and Dr Jeffrey Rosen, CC Bell professor of molecular and cellular biology and medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, explained the significance of the process.
They write: "Whether the cancer stem cell model is relevant to all cancers or not, it is clear that we need new approaches to target tumour cells that are resistant to current therapies and give rise to recurrence and treatment failure."
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