13
Mar

Targeting cancer stem cells improves treatment effectiveness and prevents metastasis

Discovery by UCLA researchers could be applied to other solid tumors such as breast and colon cancer

Targeting cancer stem cells may be a more effective way to overcome cancer resistance and prevent the spread of squamous cell carcinoma — the most common head and neck cancer and the second-most common skin cancer, according to a new study by cancer researchers at the UCLA School of Dentistry.

Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma is a highly invasive form of cancer and frequently spreads to the cervical lymph nodes. Currently, cisplatin is the standard therapeutic drug used for people with HNSCC. Yet, more than 50 percent of people who take cisplatin demonstrate resistance to the drug, and they experience a recurrence of the cancer. The five-year survival rates remain sorely low and researchers still don’t understand the underlying mechanisms behind head and neck squamous carcinoma. Therefore, said UCLA cancer biologist Dr. Cun-Yu Wang, who led the study, there’s an urgent need to understand why people with this type of cancer are resistant to therapy and to develop new approaches for treating it.

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