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Scholars Day 2006, Wednesday, April 12

Banishing at the Beginning: Killing Cancer Stem Cells

Cancer drugs target rapidly dividing cells, for cellular proliferation serves as a hallmark of carcinogenesis. Targeting mitosis is not specific to cancer cells however, and chemotherapy treatments are cytotoxic to all cells undergoing division. The outlook for many types of cancer is poor; tumors cannot be effectively treated with anti-mitotic drugs alone. Chemotherapy drugs are unable to destroy cancer stem cells (CSCs), cells capable of starting and propagating malignant clones in vivo. Specific targeting of cancer stem cells would provide hope to new cancer treatments, eradicating tumors at their roots, while reducing side effects. Leukemic stem cells are one type of CSC responsible for the onset of blood cancers. Parthenolide, a naturally occurring small molecule, specifically targets the leukemic stem cell population. With further advances in cancer pharmacology, specific inhibitors may be created against other CSCs. Targeting cancer stem cells as an approach to cancer treatments is discussed throughout this presentation.

Presenter: Tiffany Telarico (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: Biological Sciences
Location: 216 Hartwell
Time: 1:35 pm (Session III)