Head and Neck Cancer Stem Cell Research
Could this research lead to new treatments for head and neck cancer?Everybody's cancer is a little bit different. Doctors need a way to tell which patients will respond to radiation or surgery alone, and which patients need radiation with chemotherapy.
Current treatment studies are based on general results from a large number of patients with similar tumors, even though tumors are never exactly the same. Because these studies look at the effects of treatment on all cancer cells, the results are not specific enough.
To design personalized treatment for an individual's cancer, scientists need to understand the individual's cancer stem cells. What they really need to do is look at the genetics of the cancer stem cell, which is more precise than the genetics of all cancer cells. If researchers can select just the cancer stem cells and study them on their own in isolation, doctors will be able to treat patients more effectively.
Dr. Prince and his collaborators are investigating how to stimulate a patient's immune system to destroy cancer stem cells in head and neck cancer. This research holds great promise as a new method to eradicate this critical population of cancer cells.