Session type: Plenary lectures
1University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, USA
Traditional concepts of how solid tumours form and grow involved equivalent cell division. That is, all cells of the tumour are essentially equivalent and each has the property of dividing to give the 'equivalent' tumour cells. The corollary is that therapeutic shrinking of the tumour by, for example, 70% represents a 70% effectiveness of the therapy. If we instead consider that some tumours may develop in a hierarchical manner, with stem-like cells at the apex of the hierarchy giving rise to cells that lose their stemness and can only divide for a limited number of cycles, then shrinkage of the tumour is a poor measure of therapeutic effectiveness. In this model, therapeutic effectiveness can only be measured by the loss of the stem-like cells - the cancer stem cells.