US scientists have discovered a new type of cells, which they say appear to play a role in the development of cancer.
The medical team led by Jian-Xin Gao at Ohio State University identified the cells they call precancerous stem cells, or pCSCs, that can either remain benign or become malignant, depending upon environmental cues, reported UPI.
"These hybrid cells are very complex. They have properties of normal and abnormal stem cells and do not always lead to cancer," said Gao. "These cells appear to be a whole new class of cells involved in the development of cancer," said the researchers in their study, which will appear in the March 21 online edition of journal "PLoS ONE".
Gao said the finding might help define the role of cancer stem cells in the growth and recurrence of the disease, as well as offer new options for cancer prevention, detection and treatment.