View Full Version : Scientists discover neural stem cells with tumour targeting ability

04-23-2012, 01:44 PM
Singapore News
Posted: 20 April 2012

SINGAPORE: Scientists at Singapore's Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) have discovered that neural stem cells possess the innate ability to target tumour cells outside the central nervous system.

The finding was recently published in leading peer reviewed journal, Stem Cells.

The scientists discovered that neural stem cells (NSCs) derived from human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells could be used to treat breast cancer.

This was the first study to demonstrate that iPS cell-derived NSCs could also target tumours outside the central nervous system, and treat both primary and secondary tumours.

The effectiveness of using NSCs, which originate from the central nervous system, to treat brain tumours has been investigated in previous studies.

Team leader Dr Shu Wang said the scientists have "demonstrated that tumour-targeting neural stem cells may be derived from human iPS cells, and that these cells may be used in combination with a therapeutic gene to cripple tumor growth."

"This is a significant finding for stem cell-based cancer therapy, and we will continue to improve and optimize our neural stem cell system by preventing any unwanted activation of the therapeutic gene in non-tumor regions and minimizing possible side effects," Dr Wang added.

Despite decades of cancer research, cancer remains a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 7.6 million deaths in 2008.

Breast cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer deaths each year.

In Singapore, more than 1,400 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 300 die as a result of breast cancer each year.

- CNA/wm