When you colonize the tumor cells in a developing embryo a spontaneous correction of the tumor cell or its elimination through “cell suicide” is observed.
It is now known that tumor cells have many aspects in common with the behavior of embryonic cells.
Such behavior of tumor cells can be interpreted as a reactivation of an embryo program and for this reason the tumor cells resume multiplying quickly in the same way as the embryonic ones.
However, they become sensitive to the same factors of differentiation to which are sensitive the embryonic cells. These factors are those that direct the differentiation of embryonic cells during organogenesis. If there were no factors of differentiation also embryonic cells would continue to multiply and to generate a shapeless and undifferentiated mass, just like a tumor.
The research is therefore focusing to see if treating the tumor with these same factors one is able to block its growth and correct\heal the diseased cells by transforming the tumor phenotype in normal phenotype.