cancer stem cells

cancer stem cells

The small minority of malignant tissue cells capable of giving rise to new lines of cancer cells. Like other stem cells, cancer stem cells are self-renewing with an indefinite life span and a great capacity for cell production. When they divide, some retain the undifferentiated stem cell characteristics while the great majority of their offspring become ordinary cancer cell lines capable of dying off. Cancer stem cell longevity explains why cancers can recur many years after apparent cure. It appears that for cancer treatments to be completely successful they must target cancer stem cells.
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