Cancer Stem Cells Open Access Articles

 Stem cells are characterized by the capacity for self-renewal and the ability to differentiate into diverse specialized cell types. This concept has been extended from the embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and adult stem cells to cancer stem cells (CSCs) and induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells. Through self-renewal, more stem cells are generated which maintain an undifferentiated status. Through differentiation, stem cells give rise to a mature cell type. Embryonic stem cells are capable of differentiating into all tissues during embryonic development. Adult stem cells play important roles in replenishing and repairing adult tissues (Lawson et al., 2009). Researchers have successfully reprogrammed somatic cells into stem-like cells – known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) – which share many of the characteristics of ESCs (Takahashi and Yamanaka, 2006). Emerging evidence has indicated a subpopulation of stem-like cells within tumors, known as CSCs, which exhibit characteristics of both stem cells and cancer cells. In addition to self-renewal and differentiation capacities, CSCs have the ability to seed tumors when transplanted into an animal host. CSCs can be distinguished from other cells within the tumor by symmetry of their cell division and alterations in their gene Rosen and Jordan, 2009). microRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of non-coding small RNAs that are single-stranded with ~20 nt in length. miRNAs regulate the stability or translational efficiency of targeted messenger RNAs through complementary interaction with the 3'untranslated region of target genes.   

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