Sino Biological offers a comprehensive set of tools for study of cancer stem cells. These include recombinant proteins, antibodies, ELISA kits and gene cDNA clones directed towards molecules which are identified as cancer stem cell (CSC) markers or involved in CSC proliferation and differentiation pathways.
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A cancer stem cell (CSC) is a cell within a tumor that possesses the capacity to self-renew and to generate the heterogeneous lineages of cancer cells that comprise the tumor. Bonnet and Dick isolated a subpopulation of leukaemic cells that express a specific surface marker CD34, but lack the CD38 marker. It is the first conclusive evidence for cancer stem cells. Later studies discovered that some other malignant tumors, including cancers of the: brain, breast, colon, ovary, pancreas and prostate, can also be composed of morphologically and phenotypically heterogeneous cell populations with varying self-renewal capacities, degrees of differentiation, and clonogenic and tumorigenic potentials. These observations have led to the development of the cancer stem cell theory, which points that many tumors, like physiologic tissues, can be hierarchically organized, and that cancer stem cells are essential for their propagation.
Not only is finding the source of cancer cells necessary for successful treatments, but if current treatments of cancer do not properly destroy enough cancer stem cells, the tumor will reappear. Therefore, the successful elimination of a cancer requires anticancer therapy that affects the differentiated cancer cells and the potential cancer stem cell population. Indeed, cancer stem cell-targeted approaches have shown promise in preclinical models. These approaches include direct strategies, such as ablation by targeting molecular markers of cancer stem cells or cancer stem cell-specific pathways, reversal of resistance mechanisms, and differentiation therapy, and indirect strategies, such as antiangiogenic therapy, immunotherapeutic approaches, and disruption of protumorigenic interactions between cancer stem cells and their microenvironment. A number of studies have focused on identifying specific cancer stem cell markers. Pancreatic cancer stem cells express the surface markers CD44, CD24 and epithelial specific antigen (ESA). It has also been identified that liver progenitor cells share molecular markers with adult hepatocytes and fetal hepatocytes. In addition, markers frequently used to identify adult stem cells within the prostate, breast and intestine include CD44, CD133, ESA, CD69, p63, as well as some stem cell antigen, such as CD34, c-kit, Flt-3, NCAM, and Thy-1.