The Niche

Cancer stem cells: controversies and misconceptions

Nature recently published a paper by Sean Morrison and others finding that melanoma stem cells are not rare and that standard assays to identify tumorigenic cells fail to detect a large portion of them. This prompted two letters describing an earlier study by David Taussig and others which found that the antibodies used to detect the leukemogenic cells first identified by John Dick changed their behaviour. Another letter pointed out the role that the extracellular matrix plays in shielding transplanted cells from the immune response, and suggested that this could provide insight in developing immune-based therapies to cancer. 

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