Cell division in any living organism is an integral part of life, as worn out cells has to be replaced by newly generated cells. This process of generating new cells varies between organs and the mechanisms involved are highly complex which include the nature and capability of the underlying stem cells, their environment, metabolism, physical and allied biological factors the organ or tissue is subjected to etc., Aberrant cell division takes place and ends up in a cancer cell and such aberrance may be due to faulty stem cell, abnormal genetic components or any other factor such as radiation or a constant irritation. It is the second leading cause of death in the world yet much is still not known about its mechanisms of establishment and definitive modalities of complete cure. Globally it is estimated that there are 7.6 million new cancer cases diagnosed, out of which 52% occur in the developing countries every year. The magnitude of the problem of cancer in the Indian Sub-Continent in terms of sheer number is most alarming. The estimated new cases of cancer in India per year are nearly 6.5 lakhs (1999) and at the start of the millennium it was estimated to be 806,000. The crude incidence of cancer in India is approximately 100 per 100,000 populations. The Cancer in women in the Indian Sub-continent constitutes more than 50% of the total cancer. Recent epidemiological studies done at National Cancer Registry programme in India report that the Cancer burden in the country is 2.5 to 3 million and it is estimated that the number of new cases diagnosed every year is found to be 700,000 - 900,00
The common approaches to cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy to name a few. Although the common treatment have played major roles in bringing down the mortality and morbidity to a significant extent, complete cure is still uncertain and the prognosis varies depending upon the stage and the type of the disease. Even when patients experience tumor regression immediately after therapy, recurrence or metastasis (spreading to other parts of the body) can occur later.
A matter of recent concern in Cancer biology is the Cancer Stem cells. Cancer stem cells are a small definable number of cells in a tumor that possess characteristics associated with normal stem cells, i.e. their ability to give rise to all cell types found in that particular tumor. Most of the cancer therapies target the rapidly proliferating cancer cells and spare the relatively quiescent cancer stem cells. Hence, the need for therapies that target the cancer stem cells is the need of the hour..