Existing treatments for cancer stem cells have several deficiencies, including those that limit their ability to grow uncontrollably and become relapses or metastases, according to a new study from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Bruce Glatt.

The findings suggest that targeting stem cells with powerful inhibitors could become a novel strategy for overcoming these symptoms.

Noting that glioclines are all over the news with the recent discovery of AR-V2-EBR2-19-TET, or R-MAP, an autophagosome-like protein that sits inside the nucleus, Glatt and his colleagues set out to find out what else might be lurking inside the patient tissue.

To start with, they examined DNA in pairs. Some DNA pairs had moved from outside the nucleus, while others had moved there while in the cancer stem cell niche. In vivo, they were divided into two groups – one that had had lived in the bone marrow and another that had been transplanted into the bone marrow of mice that had yet to undergo matched surgical treatments.

A further search led the team to DNA that they couldn’t see on a long-sighter – about 89 percent of the cell tissue had been removed, but about 72 percent had cancer-associated stem cells inside.

The cells were identified by optical fluorescent labeling, and a lot of the DNA remained hidden by 12 genes with known functions outside the nucleus. As a further check, they looked at DNA that could be visualized, showing a healthy portion of the tissue outside the cell.

All told, Glatt and his colleagues found 72 percent more cancer stem cells hidden within the tissue – and a small area clinging to the tissue was surrounded by prominent tumor cells, alluding to the possibility of the cancer forming a new tumor.