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The Art in Science

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Anthony Wang, M.D. (Fan Lab), Department of Neurosurgery and Cell & Developmental Biology, University of Michigan Medical School

These are gliosarcoma cancer cells. Gliosarcoma is a rare form of gliobastoma multiforme, one of the most deadly cancers. It infiltrates brain tissue effortlessly and with complete disregard for normal anatomic boundaries. The mainstay of treatment is radiation, though surgery and chemotherapy are used as well. However, recurrence is inevitable. One theory as to why recurrence happens is that a special type of tumor cell lays dormant and is resistant to radiation and chemotherapy. Even though the visible tumor dies with treatment, these dormant "cancer stem cells" then replicate to form a new tumor.