Researchers in Hong Kong Report “Super Cancer Stem Cells” Discovery

Jul 11, 2011   

Researchers in Hong Kong reported discovery of a type of “super cancer stem cells” last week. These stem cells are embedded in liver cancers and are resistant to chemotherapy allowing them to spread to other body parts even after they are surgically removed. The discovery was published in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

According to the study, these cancer stem cells have a unique surface protein called CD24 and patients with high counts of this protein have lower changes of survival. The animal study used in the research demonstrated that mice implanted with liver cancer enriched with CD24 cancer stem cells were resistant to chemotherapy.

Liver cancer stem cells are particularly troublesome because they are responsible for growing tumors. These tumors can spread and become drug-resistant which causes recurrence even after the tumors are removed surgically. According to a report in Reuters, there are 500,000 new cases of liver cancer worldwide every year and over 50 percent of those new cases occur in China.

Chinas regulation of stem cell research is relatively relaxed when compared to that of the United States. According to some experts in the industry, China has used its laws and policies to position itself to become a global leader in the stem cell research industry. Unlike the United States, which has created confusing, muddled policy on stem cell research and therapies, China seems to be embracing the technologies and treatments that can originate in stem cell research.

Fuerst Ittleman is well-equipped to assist members of FDA-regulated industry navigate the laws and regulations applicable to stem cell therapies and devices in the United States. For more information about the current regulatory framework surrounding stem cells or any other stem cell-related issues you may be facing contact us at