I recently heard something on the news about cancer stem cells. What are they?

Cancer stem cells (or CSC) are a certain type of cancer cell, that according to the National Cancer Institute, “the theory goes, these cells are distinct from the other cells that form the bulk of a tumor in that they can self-perpetuate and produce progenitor cells, the way that traditional stem cells do.” So in other words, the CSC’s “job is to repopulate tumor cells eradicated by treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation.”

Many researchers also believe that CSC are responsible for metastatic tumors that spread throughout the body.

Scientists at the University of Oxford and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden have recently released research that they believe definitively proves that CSC’s do exist in the human body.

For more information contact Courtney Britton, librarian at Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge at (225) 927-2273, cbritton@cancerservices.org , or visit the Education Center at 550 Lobdell Ave., Baton Rouge.

ä Internet Resources:


Evolving Science of Cancer Stem Cells


This column is presented as a service by Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, a United Way affiliate.