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Cancer And Its Effects On Cancer

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Cancer is a disease that plagues our society, and is at the forefront of scientific research around the globe. There have been many advancements toward cancer research, and in the development of therapies or potential cures. However, cancer does remain one of the largest health issues to date. There are many unanswered questions about this disease, and even with extensive research, it usually leads to more questions. Cancer stem cells are a type of cancer cell that play an intimate role in determining the potential aggressive behavior of cancer. Cancer stem cells have taken the research world by storm, and although heavily debated, could potentially lead to the development of cancer therapies and impact the future of cancer treatment, or even a cure. In order to understand cancer stem cells, one must first understand stem cells in general. The idea of cancer stem cells was proposed over 100 years ago, but has recently become a major focus because of the similarities they share with normal stem cells. The idea of cancer stem cells generated research because sub-components of stem cells have been located in tumors of the breast, brain, and other organs. The parallels between cancer stem cells and stem cells have led to a cancer stem cell theory or hypothesis, and could one day hopefully lead to the eradication of cancer.
Stem cells are controversial and a heavily debated research area of biology. They are basically the body 's master cells and embody important characteristics. According to Jordan, Guzman, and Noble, “stem cells have three distinctive properties: self renewal, the capability to develop into multiple lineages, and the potential to proliferate extensively” (1253). The characteristic of ...

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... are sometimes a temporary means to an end , “cancers that appear to be successfully eliminated immediately following treatment may recur at a later time and often do so at a new site” (Goldthwaite, 93). Research and development are focusing on being able to target the cancer stem cell directly, and avoid damaging healthy tissues. Goldthwaite also shows us that, “If the CSC hypothesis proves to be correct, then a strategy designed to target CSCs selectively could potentially stop the “seeds” of the tumor before they have a chance to germinate and spread” (93). Eliminating the cancer stem cells that are responsible for tumor growth could potentially cure a patient. Leaving the cancer stem cells and simply destroying the tumor is not beneficial. Having a clear understanding of how cancer stem cells elude therapies can also lead to more effective cancer treatments.
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