Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Medicine Biotech Science

Scientists Engineer Cancer-Killing Stem Cells 46

SternisheFan writes with news that medical researchers from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital have successfully cultivated stem cells that will kill brain cancer cells in mice without damaging healthy cells. "They used genetic engineering to make stem cells that spewed out cancer-killing toxins, but, crucially, were also able to resist the effects of the poison they were producing. ... In animal tests, the stem cells were surrounded in gel and placed at the site of the brain tumor after it had been removed. Their cancer cells then died as they had no defense against the toxins (abstract)." The next step in the research is to try the treatment on humans. Chris Mason, a professor of regenerative medicine, said, "This is a clever study, which signals the beginning of the next wave of therapies. It shows you can attack solid tumors by putting mini pharmacies inside the patient which deliver the toxic payload direct to the tumor. Cells can do so much. This is the way the future is going to be."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Scientists Engineer Cancer-Killing Stem Cells

Comments Filter:
  • by clickclickdrone ( 964164 ) on Saturday October 25, 2014 @10:42AM (#48228971)
    What could possibly go wrong...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sure sounds like a perfect candidate for it. Rots a hole from the brain cavity to the mouth, then biting people infects them with the 'cancer stopping' drugs leading to them become a 'brainless rabid' vector for further infections.

    Only difference is I doubt they'll look quite as scary as they try and depict them in movies, making it even worse and more likely to lure people close for further infections.

    Science trumps Sci-Fi daily, but rarely in as dramatic or impressive a fashion.

  • ...how do we kill the stem cells?
  • Someone close to me died of Liver Cancer. I wish we had a treatment like this before he died.

    • Someone close to me died of Liver Cancer. I wish we had a treatment like this before he died.

      My wife Susan died of a brain tumor, a Glioblastoma Multiforme [wikipedia.org], almost 9 years ago (January 13, 2006), just 7 weeks after initial diagnosis. The tumor was right next to her brain stem. Even if not a cure, something like this might have helped her live long enough for other treatments to work more. We had been together for only 20 years and it was over just like that, but I know I was lucky to have her in my life for even that short a span and especially to have those last 7 weeks together.

      Remember Sue... [tumblr.com]

  • Skipping some steps (Score:4, Informative)

    by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Saturday October 25, 2014 @12:04PM (#48229329)

    The article says " In animal tests, the stem cells were surrounded in gel and placed at the site of the brain tumor after it had been removed. Their cancer cells then died as they had no defense against the toxins (abstract)." The next step in the research is to try the treatment on humans."

    They're missing a few steps. How about the next step is to try the treatment in live mice and see if continuous chemotherapy has harmful effects on their brains? How about animal models in the same order as humans (e.g. monkeys) before you try it in humans?

    • by NoKaOi ( 1415755 ) on Saturday October 25, 2014 @12:27PM (#48229471)

      It's poorly worded, but if you read TFA carefully, they did use the treatment in live mice. They surgically removed the tumor, then put the stem cells at the site of where the tumor had been and they killed the remaining cancer cells. The article also contradicts itself in first saying that the next step is testing on humans, and later saying the next step is testing a number of different techniques with it on mice with glioblastoma. Unfortunately the paper itself is behind a paywall.

    • Animal testing is next to useless but too much money involved for the researchers to admit it.

      • It depends on the animal. The closer the animal is to the target, the more likely results are relevant. Mice are a poor choice if you're looking for something to be safe and effective in humans because they're not even primates. But heck, at least they're placentals.

        But you're right. Many drugs that worked in mice don't work in humans, or are toxic or have unacceptable side effects in humans. We can presume it is the other way around too. Hundreds of drugs have been rejected because they weren't effec

  • Or your brain tumors, as it were.
  • Gerry Potter's research led to what he calls "pro-drug paradigm" that is it's not a drug, it's turned into a drug by something, then becomes active.

    I met one of this guys friends in Starbucks once and we became good friends and he explained a bunch of this stuff to me. Here's the short version:

    The Cytochrome P450 enzyme CYP1B1 [1] only occurs in cancer cells [2][3]. When certain phytoallexins such as resveratrol and salvestrol are ingested these phytoalexins are converted by the P450 enzyme into piceatannol

  • Summary says the engineered stem cells avoid damaging healthy cells, but TFA does not tell about it. How do they avoid that?
  • I love how this treatment requires slicing and dicing the patient, let's get anti-cd47 treatments moving. Stanford has clinical trials moving, hopefully they expand it and it continues to go well.
  • Has anyone from your research tried to contact her!
  • The time for voluntary human trials needs to be established. Protocols to fast track this type of advancement need to be done.

fortune: cpu time/usefulness ratio too high -- core dumped.

Working...