Solid Tumor Fact Sheet

CIRM funds many projects seeking to better understand solid tumors and to translate those discoveries into new therapies.


Solid tumors include cancers of the brain, ovary, breast, colon and other tissues. Many people believe that one quality solid tumors share is a reliance on cancer stem cells. These cancer stem cells are thought to divide to produce the bulk of the cells that make up the tumor.

The hypothesis suggests that unlike most cells of a tumor, the cancer stem cells divide very slowly and are less likely to be destroyed by chemotherapies that kill the fast-growing tumor cells. The thought is that cancers might recur because the chemotherapy kills the bulk of the tumor, but leaves behind the cancer stem cells that can, over time, form a new tumor.

Stem cell scientists are studying cancer stem cells from solid tumors in the lab to find ways of destroying them. If these cancer stem cells share characteristics that allow them to be destroyed by the same drug, then a single new drug could significantly improve cancer treatment for a range of different cancer types.

Disease Team

University of California, Los Angeles

A team led by scientists at UCLA has identified several potential drugs that kill cancer stem cells from the ovary, colon and brain in the lab dish. They will continue studying these drugs to find one that is most likely to be safe and effective at destroying cancer stem cells in people. Once they’ve identified the best candidate drug, the team plans to start clinical trials.

Catriona Jamieson of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center Describes Cancer Stem Cells

CIRM Grants Targeting Solid Tumors

CIRM Cancer Stem Cell Videos

News about solid tumor research


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Stem Cell FAQ | Stem Cell Videos | What We Fund