Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine identified the cancer stem cells that propagate tumors in colon and rectal cancer. This is the latest class of cancer stem cells tracked down by a large, interdisciplinary group of researchers. Identifying new cancer stem cells has been a major push within Stanford's Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine.
The study found CD44, a protein that has already been found on the surface of both breast and head and neck cancer stem cells, in colorectal cancer stem cells.
The researchers also found a novel protein on the colorectal cancer stem cells, called CD166, that had not previously been associated with other forms of cancer stem cells.
The discovery is reported in the June 4 advance online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.