2016 年 26 巻 2 号 p. 7-13
The maintenance and repair of many adult tissues are ensured by stem cells, which reside at the top of the cellular hierarchy of the tissues. Stem cells have the ability to perpetuate themselves through self-renewal and to generate mature cells of a particular tissue through differentiation. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have common features with normal stem cells regarding the ability of self-renewal and differentiation into diverse cells. CSCs are considered to be responsible for the poor prognosis of various types of cancers as they are related to therapeutic resistance and recurrence. Therefore elucidation of molecular mechanisms of CSCs is very important to conquer unresectable cancers via development of CSC targeted therapies. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms of CSCs because rarity of CSCs in cancer tissues hinders the research on CSCs. The origin of CSCs and how CSCs acquire their properties are still to be elucidated. This review summarized the properties of CSCs and referred to the current issues of CSC researches. We also introduced our method of inducing colon CSC properties by defined factors and collecting them with cell sorter. This method probably overcomes the quantitative limitations of CSCs, and provides us a better understanding of molecular mechanisms of CSCs, leading to developing new CSC targeted therapy.