Translating mammary stem cell and cancer stem cell biology to the clinics

Rajneesh Pathania, Vadivel Ganapathy, Muthusamy Thangaraju

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Breast cancer, one of the most deadly diseases in women, is a hierarchical entity comprising heterogeneous populations of cells with genetic or epigenetic alterations that allow them to grow as a tumor and subsequently cause metastasis. Since past 70 years, several classes of chemotherapeutic agents have been developed which are used widely for treatment of breast cancer, and yet the breast cancer has not been eradicated. In the past two decades, stem cells have become the holy grail of biomedical research because the biology of these cells has potential to contribute to a better understanding of the molecular basis of not only cancer but also several other diseases as well as to foster new avenues for the design and development of novel classes of drugs for the treatment of these diseases. Further, stem cells can be used as a vector for gene therapy to treat diseases like cancer because stem cells can migrate relatively long distances, not only to the sites of injury and infection, but also to initial sites of tumor. Identification of mammary stem cells and cancer stem cells raises new hopes for the treatment of breast cancer. Previous studies have shown that cancer stem cells have similar property to the normal stem cells, but have the characteristic feature of increased self-renewal compared to normal stem cells. Stem cells also play an important role in carcinogenesis; thus understanding the role of stem cells in malignant transformation will have far-reaching implications in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of cancer as well as for the discovery of new treatment modalities to completely obliterate several human malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationStem Cells and Human Diseases
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9789400728011
ISBN (Print)940072800X, 9789400728004
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012


  • Cancer stem cells
  • Drug resistance
  • Self-renewal
  • Stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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