Most cancers comprise a heterogenous population of cells with marked differences in their proliferative potential as well as the ability to reconstitute the tumor upon transplantation. Cancer stem cells are a minor population of tumor cells that possess the stem cell property of self-renewal. In addition, dysregulation of stem cell self-renewal is a likely requirement for the development of cancer. This new model for cancer will have significant ramifications for the way we study and treat cancer. In addition, through targeting the cancer stem cell and its dysregulated self-renewal, our therapies for treating cancer are likely to improve.
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