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SP analysis may be used to identify cancer stem cell populations.

Hadnagy A, Gaboury L, Beaulieu R, Balicki D

Research Centre and Department of Medicine, Hôtel-Dieu du Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM), Canada.

Side populations (SP), as defined by Hoechst exclusion in flow cytometry, have been described a few years ago. While they represent only a small fraction of the whole cell population, their properties confer an important place in several investigations. SP cells express high levels of various members of ABC transporters family, such as MDR1 and BCRP, which are responsible for drug resistance. Targeting SP could improve cancer therapy by blocking these transporters. In addition, SP appear to be enriched in stem cells, cells that play a pivotal role in normal development and cancer biology. Thus, they could provide a useful tool and a readily accessible source for stem cell studies in both the normal and cancerous settings. However, these cells are poorly defined and pose challenges in their identification and isolation, particularly since they are few in number. Thus, better characterization of SP will advance our understanding of stem cells and will provide us an accessible target for drug resistance in cancer therapy.

Exp. Cell Res. 2006;312(19):3701-10.

Pubmed ID: 17046749

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