According to this Business Week article, new approaches to cancer research are currently being examined that could change the direction of cancer therapy.
“Cancer stem cells drive the growth of a tumor. If we could target treatments against these cells specifically, we should be able to eradicate the cancer completely,” Dr. Trevor Yeung, of Oxford University’s Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine was quoted as having said.
Radiotherapy and chemotherapy destroy cancer cells but the therapies are not as effective against cancer stem cells. In fact it is those same stem cells of the cancer that cause the cancer to resurface.
“People have assumed that cancer stem cells made up a small proportion of the cells in a tumor, but it is becoming increasingly clear that this is not correct,” Yeung said. “The most aggressive tumors can have a majority of cells that are cancer stem cells.”