Cancer stem cells (CSCs) represent a subclass of tumour cells with the ability for self-renewal, production of differentiated progeny, prolonged survival, resistance to damaging therapeutic agents, and anchorage-independent survival, which together make this population effectively equipped to metastasize, invade and colonize secondary tissues in the face of therapeutic intervention. In recent years, investigators have increasingly focused on the characterization of CSCs to better understand the mechanisms that govern malignant disease progression in an effort to develop more effective, targeted therapeutic agents. The primary obstacle to the study of CSCs, however, is their rarity. Thus, the study of CSCs requires the use of sensitive and efficient technologies for their enrichment and detection. This review discusses technologies and methods that have been adapted and used to isolate and characterize CSCs to date, as well as new potential directions for the enhanced enrichment and detection of CSCs. While the technologies used for CSC enrichment and detection have been useful thus far for their characterization, each approach is not without limitations. Future studies of CSCs will depend on the enhanced sensitivity and specificity of currently available technologies, and the development of novel technologies for increased detection and enrichment of CSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-350
Number of pages5
JournalNational Medical Journal of India
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010


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