Cells with stem-cell characteristics appear to be especially important in the formation and metastasis of tumors. Scientists have now developed a universal fluorescent probe for these “cancer stem cells”. As reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie, this dye also selectively kills off the cells.
“Cancer stem cells”, also known as tumor-initiating cells (TIC), appear to cause relapses after radiation and chemotherapy because a single surviving TIC can cause a new tumor to grow. In addition, they appear to be the main cause of metastasis. Effective tumor treatment must therefore aim to kill off TICs as extensively as possible. To this end, a “probe” that marks these cancer stem cells would be useful so that they become visible. Although there are markers that also recognize TICs associated with some types of cancer, no universal, selective probe for cancer stem cells has been found.
A team from the Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore, Pohang University of Science and Technology in Korea, and other research organizations in Singapore and Korea, have now succeeded in finding such a probe. They were able to show that their new probe, a fluorescent dye, selectively stains TICs from a broad variety of
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