Some brain tumors are notoriously difficult to treat. Whether surgically removed, zapped by radiation or infiltrated by chemotherapy drugs, they find a way to return.
The ability of many brain tumors to regenerate can be traced to cancer stem cells that evade treatment and spur the growth of new tumor cells.
But some brain tumor stem cells may have an Achilles' heel, scientists have found. The cancer stem cells' remarkable abilities have to be maintained, and researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a key player in that maintenance process. When the process is disrupted, they found, so is the spread of cancer.