While most companies working on cancer stem cells appear to be developing compounds to kill the cells themselves, Actium Research Inc. is working on ways to make these cells vulnerable to chemotherapy. The company's screening platform is designed to identify small molecules that induce differentiation in cancer stem cells but not normal stem cells.

Cancer stem cells are a subpopulation of tumor cells that remain in a pluripotent state and are thought to initiate and sustain tumor growth. Multiple lines of evidence suggest these cells evade chemotherapy, which primarily kills differentiated cells in the