Stem cell research has been a topic of interest for a number of years. Even if you have only a vague understanding of what stem cells are, you likely know that they hold great promise for treating any number of conditions or diseases.

But there’s also a potential darker side to stem cells. Some cancer researchers have proposed a cancer stem cell hypothesis, where cancer stem cells are actually found within tumors themselves and are thought to be responsible for tumor growth, resistance, and recurrence, even after treatment. The hypothesis puts forth the idea that these cells are what makes malignant tumors so hard to treat.

However, this news isn’t all bad. Traditional cancer treatment methods like chemotherapy and radiation strive to kill all cancerous cells. Not only do these treatments often kill healthy cells in the process, but they’ve also been shown to be ineffective in treating more aggressive and advanced cancers.

The hypothesis suggests that “indiscriminate killing of cancer cells would not be as effective as selective targeting of the cells that are driving long-term growth.” If these cancer stem cells can be identified and targeted, treatments may become more effective and less exhausting for patients.

While this theory has not been completely proven, it does hold promise for the future of cancer treatments. Considering that approximately 39.6% of men and women will receive a cancer diagnosis at some point during their lives, scientific researchers understand the importance of improving existing treatments and finding new ways to study cancerous cells. At BRTI Life Sciences, our 3D cell culture systems provide yet another innovative way to more effectively study tumors and test different cancer treatments in vitro. To find out more about our tumor modeling options, please contact us today.