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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 635745, 8 pages
Review Article

Overcoming Multidrug Resistance in Cancer Stem Cells

Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, Trinity Washington University, 125 Michigan Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20017, USA

Received 9 August 2015; Revised 9 October 2015; Accepted 19 October 2015

Academic Editor: Milica Pešić

Copyright © 2015 Karobi Moitra. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The principle mechanism of protection of stem cells is through the expression of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters. These transporters serve as the guardians of the stem cell population in the body. Unfortunately these very same ABC efflux pumps afford protection to cancer stem cells in tumors, shielding them from the adverse effects of chemotherapy. A number of strategies to circumvent the function of these transporters in cancer stem cells are currently under investigation. These strategies include the development of competitive and allosteric modulators, nanoparticle mediated delivery of inhibitors, targeted transcriptional regulation of ABC transporters, miRNA mediated inhibition, and targeting of signaling pathways that modulate ABC transporters. The role of ABC transporters in cancer stem cells will be explored in this paper and strategies aimed at overcoming drug resistance caused by these particular transporters will also be discussed.