Solid Tumor Fact Sheet
CIRM funds many projects seeking to better understand solid tumors and to translate those discoveries into new therapies.
Solid tumors include cancers of the brain, ovary, breast, colon and other tissues. Many people believe that one quality solid tumors share is a reliance on cancer stem cells. These cancer stem cells are thought to divide to produce the bulk of the cells that make up the tumor.
The hypothesis suggests that unlike most cells of a tumor, the cancer stem cells divide very slowly and are less likely to be destroyed by chemotherapies that kill the fast-growing tumor cells. The thought is that cancers might recur because the chemotherapy kills the bulk of the tumor, but leaves behind the cancer stem cells that can, over time, form a new tumor.
Stem cell scientists are studying cancer stem cells from solid tumors in the lab to find ways of destroying them. If these cancer stem cells share characteristics that allow them to be destroyed by the same drug, then a single new drug could significantly improve cancer treatment for a range of different cancer types.
Clinical Stage Programs
The Stanford University team has found a protein on the surface of leukemia stem cells that protects those cells from elimination by the patient’s own immune system. They call this protein a “don’t eat me” signal. They will create an antibody therapy that blocks that protein and makes the cancer stem cell available to be attacked and destroyed by the immune system.
Forty Seven Inc.
This company is using the same antibody therapy as in the Stanford trial, this time to fight colorectal or bowel cancer. They are combining their antibody therapy with another antibody-based cancer drug called Cetuximab in hopes of treating patients with colorectal cancer.
University of California, Los Angeles
A team led by scientists at UCLA has identified several potential drugs that kill cancer stem cells from the ovary, colon and brain in the lab dish. They will continue studying these drugs to find one that is most likely to be safe and effective at destroying cancer stem cells in people. Once they’ve identified the best candidate drug, the team plans to start clinical trials.
Participant in UCLA clinical trial talks about his cancer diagnosis and his clinical trial experience
CIRM Grants Targeting Solid Tumors
CIRM Cancer Stem Cell Videos
News about solid tumor research
- Bad Seeds: Cancer's Ultimate Source (Stanford Medicine)
- The True Seeds of Cancer (Stanford Medicine)
- CIRMResearch Blog entries about cancer stem cell research
- NIH: Cancer Information Service
- National Cancer Institute
- American Cancer Society
- Stem Cell Netword solid tumor page
- Ovarian Cancer National Alliance
- American Association for Cancer Research
- Family Caregiver Alliance
- National Family Caregivers Association