Can some somatic stem cells in our bodies be the source of common cancers? The Department of Health weighs in: So-called cancer stem cells are cancer cells that have stem cell-like properties, i.e., they can self-renew and differentiate into other cell types. They are associated with some, but not all, types of cancers.
Data suggest that recurrence of some cancers is caused by a failure of current therapies to target and kill these cancer stem cells. However, the relationship between cancer stem cells and somatic stem cells is unclear.
Somatic stem cells can become cancerous, but cancer stem cells do not necessarily come from somatic stem cells.
The similarities between somatic stem cells and cancer cells is so close (including the fundamental abilities to self-renew and differentiate) have led many to believe that cancers are caused by transforming mutations that happen in tissue-specific stem cells. One of the reasons this theory has been given some attention is because among all cancer cells within a particular tumor, only a very small cell fraction has the limited potential to regenerate the entire tumor cell population. Thus, these cells with stem-like properties have been termed cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells can begin from mutation in normal somatic stem cells that stop controlling their physiological programs.
The stem cell theory of cancer proposes that among all cancerous cells, a few act as stem cells that reproduce themselves and sustain the cancer, much like normal stem cells normally renew and sustain our organs and tissues. In this view, cancer cells that are not stem cells can cause problems, but they cannot sustain an attack on our bodies over the long term, Stanford Medical said.
Over the years, there have been many theories about the origins of cancer. Truth be told, we still dont have all the answers on why some cancers come to be. However, one theory that is largely accepted postulates that: the growth of tissues and the reproduction of cells in our bodies are carefully regulated through the action of key sets of DNA instructions. When those DNA sequences are disruptedwhether through viruses, environmental causes like radiation or toxins, mutations transcription errors or inborn genetic flawscell reproduction becomes less well regulated. Eventually, those changes can produce the rapidly reproducing, self-protective and opportunistic cells that typify cancer, Stanford Medicine writes.
According to the American Cancer Society, men have a 39.66 percent chance, or one in three risk, of developing cancer over a lifetime. For women, the odds are slightly lower, at 37.65 percent.
The National Institute of Health states, Data from 2007 suggest that approximately 1.4 million men and women in the U.S. population are likely to be diagnosed with cancer and approximately 566,000 American adults are likely to die from cancer in 2008.
Stem cell transplants are commonly used today to help patients that have had blood-forming stem cells depleted after high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation. Blood forming stem cells are a vital part of health because they grow and become varying types of blood cells that your body needs such as:
For your body to be healthy, all three blood cell types play a role.
Ideal candidates for stem cell therapy include those that are suffering from pain or dysfunction due to injury or age-related joint issues. If you are you worried that surgery, a lifelong dependency on pain medications, or a departure from your prior functionality are your only options, stem cell therapy may be for you.
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