Introduction: Stem cells and cancer


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Axel Behrens1,
1ancer Research UK London Research Institute, London, UK

Abstract

Every organ harbours adult stem cells which have the potential for long-term replication, together with the capacities of self-renewal and multi-lineage differentiation. These stem cells function in tissue homeostasis and contribute to regeneration in response to injury. In addition, many cancers are caused by transforming mutations occurring in tissue-specific progenitor cells.

Some tumours appear to have a hierarchical cellular organisation similar to normal organs and contain cancer cells that possess characteristics associated with normal stem cells, specifically the ability to give rise to all cell types found in a particular cancer sample.

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