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Right on target: eradicating leukemic stem cells.


Less than a third of adults with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are cured by current treatments, emphasizing the need for new approaches to therapy. The discovery over a decade ago that myeloid leukemias originate from rare stem-like cells that can transfer the disease to immunodeficient mice suggested that these 'leukemia stem cells' (LSCs) are responsible for relapse of leukemia following conventional or targeted cancer therapy and that eradication of LSCs might be necessary to cure the disease permanently. Several recent studies have provided insight into the signaling pathways underlying the LSC phenotype and have also described approaches to eliminate LSCs with antibodies. Here, we review recent advances in LSC research and discuss novel therapeutic strategies to specifically target LSCs.

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