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State of the art: glioma stem cells

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Figure 1
Cancer stem cell theory

Conventional therapies shrink tumors by killing mainly cells with limited proliferative potential, but cancer stem cells may reestablish the tumor. By contrast, therapies targeting cancer stem cells render the tumors unable to maintain themselves or grow; from (Reya, 2001).

Current treatment strategies are designed to target the bulk tumour mass and potentially fail to account for the different molecular and clinical properties of cancer stem cells (Fine et al., 2009). Even if therapy succeeds in killing the great majority of tumor cells, remaining therapy resistant cancer stem cells can cause local recurrence or metastasis at a later time (Rosen & Jordan, 2009). Therefore, it is promising to characterize the biology of cancer stem cells and develop new therapies that also target this type of cancer cell. Tumor stem cells in glioma can be visualized e.g. by expression of the marker molecule CD133 (Singh et al., 2004; Son et al., 2009).

1.Fine, H. A. (2009). Glioma stem cells: not all created equal. Cancer Cell 15, 247-249.
2.Reya T, Morrison SJ, Clarke MF, Weissman IL. (2001) Nature 2001; 414:105-11.
3. Rosen, J. M., and Jordan, C. T. (2009). The increasing complexity of the cancer stem cell paradigm. Science 324, 1670-1673.
4. Singh, S. K., Hawkins, C., Clarke, I. D., Squire, J. A., Bayani, J., Hide, T., Henkelman, R. M., Cusimano, M. D., and Dirks, P. B. (2004). Identification of human brain tumour initiating cells. Nature 432, 396-401.
5. Son, M. J., Woolard, K., Nam, D.-H., Lee, J., and Fine, H. A. (2009). SSEA-1 is an enrichment marker for tumor-initiating cells in human glioblastoma. Cell Stem Cell 4, 440-452.