Cancer-killing cells made in lab
Scientists from Harvard Medical School have found a way to fight brain cancer cells using genetically engineered stem cells, a discovery which they say could eventually lead to a new line of cancer therapies and increased cancer survival rates.
In previous trials, researchers have tested stem-cell-based therapy for cancer but were unable to target cancer cells without also harming normal, healthy cells.
In the new study, the researchers tested a different approach, using mice with brain tumors. First, they genetically engineered stem cells that were capable of secreting cancer-killing toxins. Next, they removed the tumors from the mice, surrounded the stem cells in gel and placed them at the site where the tumors had been.
Researchers found that the method was successful in killing the cancer cells. Additionally, neither the stem cells nor normal, healthy cells were harmed.
The findings of the study, published in the journal Stem Cells, could signify the beginning of a new line of research into stem-cell-based cancer therapies, the researchers said. They said they plan to conduct further animal studies before testing the therapies in human clinical trials.