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Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a relatively rare subpopulation of tumor cell with self-renewal and tumorigenesis capabilities. CSCs are associated with cancer recurrence, progression, and chemoradiotherapy resistance. Establishing a reliable platform for CSC enrichment and study is a prerequisite for understanding the characteristics of CSCs and discovering CSC-related therapeutic strategies. Certain strategies for CSC enrichment have been used in laboratory, particularly fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and mammosphere culture. However, these methods fail to recapitulate the in vivo chemical and physical conditions in tumors, thus potentially decreasing the malignancy of CSCs in culture and yielding unreliable research results. Accumulating research suggests the promise of a biomaterial-based three-dimensional (3D) strategy for CSC enrichment and study. This strategy has an advantage over conventional methods in simulating the tumor microenvironment, thus providing a more effective and predictive model for CSC laboratory research. In this review, we first briefly discuss the conventional methods for CSC enrichment and study. We then summarize the latest advances and challenges in biomaterial-based 3D CSC platforms. Design strategies for materials, morphology, and chemical and physical cues are highlighted to provide direction for the future construction of platforms for CSC enrichment and study. Copyright © 2021 Cancer Biology & Medicine.


Chunhua Luo, Zhongjie Ding, Yun Tu, Jiao Tan, Qing Luo, Guanbin Song. Biomaterial-based platforms for cancer stem cell enrichment and study. Cancer biology & medicine. 2021 Mar 19

PMID: 33738994

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