The role of stem cells in the development of cancer is one of the hottest topics in cancer research at the moment. Indeed, stories on the subject make frequent appearances on our Cancer News feed, as well as on this blog.
So , given all the current hoo-ha over the US election, massive hurricanes and the credit crunch, it was great to see the Economist putting cancer stem cells on its front cover last month, and running this excellent article and accompanying leader column.
[The discovery of cancer stem cells] opens new ways of thinking about and treating the cancers. If its stem cells are eradicated, the rest of a tumour may die off. And if the secondary tumours—the truly feared killers in many forms of cancer—are the result of stem cells escaping from a primary tumour, as looks likely, then this knowledge may make them yield more easily to treatment.
Despite the fact that they’re both slightly heavy-going in places, we thoroughly recommend both pieces.
And given that the Economist’s spotlight falls mainly on US research efforts, it would be remiss of us not to point out that this is also an area of research that Cancer Research UK is actively involved with too.