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February 17, 2012 at 3:50 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Chemo-Resistant Cancer Stem Cells Meet Their Match

By E.M. Wollof from SLN More Blogs by This Author

Researchers at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center claim to have discovered a way to "smoke out" breast cancer cells.

The Research

Nearly three years in the wake (yea, pun intended, don't hate) of discovering that they could use 30-second laser blasts to destroy kidney cancer stem cells, the researchers discovered a similar technique in getting rid of breast cancer stem cells.

Stem cells tend to be the enforcers of cancer, not because they are the most aggressive, but because they are the most resistant to chemo therapy. Stem cells tend to divide more slowly, making chemo therapy a "no go" treatment. The stem cells also show an unreasonably high tolerance for heat therapies, making them public enemy number one in the cure cancer community.

The Wake Forest team tackled the issue of cancelling out these ruffians by inserting nanotubes (cylindrical molecules that have incredible thermal conductive abilities) containing breast cancer cells into mice. Once the cells were inserted, the nanotubes were exposed to laser light from an out of body source. They found that the external light caused the nanotubes to vibrate at such a rate that enough heat was produced to stop the growth of the tumor. This stoppage of growth included the cancer stem cells.

The key to all of this sciencey awesomeness works on two fronts. One, the expansion of the tumor is stopped. Two, the spread of cancer cells is decreased significantly, making the migration of the cancer to different organs much more difficult.

The (Kind of) Bad News

The researchers did add that the research is only in the infant phases of development and probably won't be seen in human trials for another decade.

No doubt this is an amazing discover, I just hope that these mice aren't the same as the mice from "A Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy," because if they are, they have got to be holding a grudge...

See you next week...

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