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Stem cell for possible child bone cancer treatment found
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British scientists have uncovered a stem cell in dogs which could lead to new treatments for bone cancer in children, according to an study published Thursday.

Osteosarcoma in dogs is molecularly similar to bone cancer in children, researchers of the Royal Vet School at the University of Edinburgh noted.

Osteksarcoma is the most common form of bone tumor in young people, accounting for about 2 percent of childhood cancers, and more than 80 percent risk losing a limb as a result.

"The rogue cancer stem cell is key in the whole process. We identified it by growing cells in particularly harsh conditions but whereas other cancer cells died off, this stem cell was able to survive," David Argyle of the Royal Vet School said.

The discovery opens up new avenues of research that could one day lead to new treatments, but the finding came from studies of cancer in dogs so it remains to be seen whether it holds true in humans, Henry Scowcroft, senior cancer information officer at Cancer Research UK said.

Around 30 children develop osteosarcomas in the UK each year. The disease occurs more commonly in older children and teenagers, usually boys, and is very rarely seen in children under five.

(Xinhua News Agency November 9, 2007)

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