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Nat Rev Cancer. 2005 Apr;5(4):311-21.

Leukaemia stem cells and the evolution of cancer-stem-cell research.

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Brian J. P. Huntly is at the Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA. bhuntly@rics.bwh.harvard.ed.


Many cancers seem to depend on a small population of 'cancer stem cells' for their continued growth and propagation. The leukaemia stem cell (LSC) was the first such cell to be described. The origins of these cells are controversial, and their biology - like that of their normal-tissue counterpart, the haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) - is still not fully elucidated. However, the LSC is likely to be the most crucial target in the treatment of leukaemias, and a thorough understanding of its biology - particularly of how the LSC differs from the HSC - might allow it to be selectively targeted, improving therapeutic outcome.

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