FDA-approved Therapies Show Promise in Eliminating Drug-resistant Cancer Stem Cells

FDA-approved Therapies Show Promise in Eliminating Drug-resistant Cancer Stem Cells
Cancer stem cells, which give rise to all cancer cells within a tumor, were believed to proliferate slowly, which allowed them to survive cancer treatments and create new tumors in a process called recurrence and metastasis. But researchers have now found that cancer stem cells are among the most energetically activated, migratory, and proliferative cells within tumors, and can be identified by high activity of the telomerase enzyme (hTERT), which is required for indefinite cell proliferation. These cells could be effectively eliminated using already approved drugs, such as Doryx (doxycycline) or Ibrance (palbociclib), suggesting that these drugs could be used to treat metastatic disease in multiple cancer types. The study, "Targeting cancer stem cell propagation with palbociclib, a CDK4/6 inhibitor: Telomerase drives tumor cell heterogeneity," was published in Oncotarget. Telomerase is a critical enzyme that is involved in a variety of biological processes, including cancer onset, but despite years of study, many of the functions of telomerase are still poorly understood. Researchers had already found that osteosarcoma cell lines with high telomerase activity behaved more like stem cells, were more migratory and invasive, and showed greater capacity for drug-resistance and metastatic dissemination, than cells with low telomerase activity. Now, researchers at the University of Salford in England sought to assess wheth
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