I received a calendar of events from SHARE . They are having a a speaker Dr. Max Wicha speak on May 2. His topics is The role of stem cells in the cause and treatment of cancer. So I went on-line and found a NY Times article written this past December on his research. His research looks at cancer stem cells- those cells that make tumors.
"Although many scientists have assumed that cancer cells are immortal — that they divide and grow indefinitely — most can only divide a certain number of times before dying. The stem-cell hypothesis says that cancers themselves may not die because they are fed by cancerous stem cells, a small and particularly dangerous kind of cell that can renew by dividing even as it spews out more cells that form the bulk of a tumor. Worse, stem cells may be impervious to most standard cancer therapies."
Today I looked at my own blog page's News section and I found an article article "Ovarian Cancer Stem Cells Identified, Characterized" based on research done at Yale. At the AACR conference, Dr. Mor presented his research that "identified, characterized and cloned ovarian cancer stem cells"and showed that these stem cells may be the source of ovarian cancer's recurrence and its resistance to chemotherapy."
University of Michigan researchers also presented info as reported in this article; "Secrets of Cellular Signaling ..." . Their research looks at how these stem cells communicate via the Notch pathway and that a drug developed for Alzheimers patients by Merck is being tested on breast cancer patients in a trial.
Maybe these stem cells really do hold the answer to the question of why some women become resistant and recur so quickly and some after a long time and some not at all. Interesting research!