Brain tumors can be particularly difficult to cure. A new research has indicated that a new technique is devised in order to utilize stem cells to kill deadly brain cancer.
Stem cells are powerful and undifferentiated cells found in both humans and animals that are capable of differentiating into specialized cell types. They can replicate themselves and repair and replace other tissues in the human body. Commonly, stem cells come from two main sources:
-Embryos formed during the blastocyst phase of embryological development (embryonic stem cells) and
-Adult tissue (adult stem cells).
The researchers at Harvard Stem Cell Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital has developed the method to use stem cells to secrete cancer-killing cytotoxins that decay and kill the tumor from within its core and take it apart from the body without causing any harm to normal, healthy cells.
Recent tumor killing remedies have been ineffective but now researchers conducted several experiments on mice to observe the impact of genetically manoeuvred stem cells and brain cancer. While testing on animals, the scientists surrounded stem cells in gel and placed at the position of the brain tumor after it had been withdrawn. Their cancer cells then died due to lack of any resistance against the toxins. They made the cells with a mutation that prohibits the toxins from acting within the cell. The extra piece of genetic code let the toxin-resistant stem cells to genearte and secrete the poisons.
Lead researcher and neuroscientist Dr. Khalid Shah, MS, PhD, director of the molecular neurotherapy and imaging lab at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School says “After doing all of the molecular analysis and imaging to track the inhibition of protein synthesis within the brain tumors, we do see the toxins kill the cancer cells.”
“Cancer-killing toxins have been used with great success in a variety of blood cancers, but they don’t work as well in solid tumours because the cancers aren’t as accessible and the toxins have a short half-life,” he added:
“We tested these stem cells in a clinically relevant mouse model of brain cancer, where you resect the tumors and then implant the stem cells encapsulated in a gel into the resection cavity,” Shah said. “After doing all of the molecular analysis and imaging to track the inhibition of protein synthesis within brain tumors, we do see the toxins kill the cancer cells and eventually prolonging the survival in animal models of resected brain tumors.”
The study titled Engineering toxin-resistant therapeutic stem cells to treat brain tumors was published in the AlphaMed Press journal Stem Cells on 24 October. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the James S. McDonnell Foundation.