Until lately the master cells that stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells have been regarded as invincible to chemotherapy. Although the cancer treatment technology was developing, there was surprisingly little headway in targeting those master cells in many kinds of cancer.
Master cells, or stem cells, form the base for the growing and spreading of new tumors in the body, so they became the focal point of new researches in the field.
“They have the power to generate a new tumor, and they are resistant to existing anti-cancer therapeutics. That suggests the need to develop therapies for cancer stem cells,” US researcher Piyush Gupta pointed out.
And now US researchers believe to have worked out a new medication that can selectively suppress the stem cells. The new compound is known by the name salinomycin.
A study has been published in Cell describing the properties of salinomycin. Experiments on mice showed that salinomycin slows down the growth of malignancies and is more effective in killing breast cancer stem cells compared to its predecessor drugs. Its influence makes stem cells less capable of generating malignancies.
Besides salinomycin inhibits genes whose function is linked with that of malignant tumors and is expected to heighten survival rate.
Experiments reveal salinomycin to be a 100 times improvement on the anti-cancer medication that is mostly used in cases of breast cancer, Taxol (paclitaxel).
The researchers are sure that drugs controlling the cancer stem cells and inhibiting the spread of malignancies in the body will be worked out in future. The production of the human version of salinomycin is expected.
Source of the image: flickr.com/photos/aglie.