Page last updated at 14:14 GMT, Tuesday, 18 January 2005

Malignant cells targeted in study

Dr Toru Kondo
Dr Toru Kondo has developed a technique which could potentially rid the body of cancer

A cancer technology was developed that researchers believe could eventually rid the body of the disease.

The technology separates cancer stem cells from cancer cell lines, making it possible to target the "parent" cancer stem cell.

This could potentially destroy the source of malignant tumours, while leaving normal stem cells unharmed.

The research was carried out by scientists at Cambridge and Kumamoto University in Japan.

Eliminating malignant cells

Dr Toru Kondo, the neurobiologist who developed the technique at the Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair, said that after the separation of cancer stem cells from cancer cell lines, unique targetable features could be identified.

It would then be possible for the malignant stem cells to be targeted with specific antibodies or additional classes of drug compounds.

"Many cancers contain cancer stem cells that are responsible for their malignancy and in order to cure cancer they have to be eliminated," he said.

"Our findings provide a simple and general strategy for doing so."

Cambridge University has licensed the technology to a U.S.-based biotechnology company, Stemline Therapeutics.

Dr Kondo will be collaborating with Stemline Therapeutics in further developing the technology.

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