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Blood. 2008 Dec 15;112(13):4793-807. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-08-077941.

Stem cell concepts renew cancer research.

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Division of Cell and Molecular Biology, University Health Network, and Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.


Although uncontrolled proliferation is a distinguishing property of a tumor as a whole, the individual cells that make up the tumor exhibit considerable variation in many properties, including morphology, proliferation kinetics, and the ability to initiate tumor growth in transplant assays. Understanding the molecular and cellular basis of this heterogeneity has important implications in the design of therapeutic strategies. The mechanistic basis of tumor heterogeneity has been uncertain; however, there is now strong evidence that cancer is a cellular hierarchy with cancer stem cells at the apex. This review provides a historical overview of the influence of hematology on the development of stem cell concepts and their linkage to cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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