Advances in cancer stem cell targeting: How to strike the evil at its root

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Abstract

Cancer progression to metastatic stages is still unmanageable and the promise of effective anti-metastatic therapy remains largely unmet, emphasizing the need to develop novel therapeutics. The special focus here is on cancer stem cells (CSC) as the seed of tumor initiation, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, chemoresistance and, as a consequence, drivers of metastatic dissemination. We report on targeted therapies gearing towards the CSC's internal and membrane-anchored markers using agents such as antibody derivatives, nucleic therapeutics, small molecules and genetic payloads. Another emphasis lies on novel proceedings envisaged to deliver current and prospective therapies to the target sites using newest viral and non-viral vector technologies. In this review, we summarize recent progress and remaining challenges in therapeutic strategies to combat CSC.

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