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Cancer Stem Cells Make a Splash

In Cell, Eric Lander and his colleagues report on an approach to screen for compounds that selectively target cancer stem cells. Using that technique, they found that salinomycin, which has "selective toxicity for breast CSCs", leads to a greater than 100-fold reduction in the amount of CSC, as compared to paclitaxel, a chemotherapy drug used to treat breast cancer. In the New York Times, Lander adds that this method gives "a potential for a real renaissance in cancer therapeutics."

In discussing the Broad Institute paper, the Cancer Research UK's Kat Arney also blogs about the theory and role of cancer stem cells. "The role of stem cells in cancer is still not crystal clear, and although there's evidence they play a role in many types of cancer, they're not always implicated," Arney writes.