View Full Version : Stem Cells Derived from Fat Tissue May be Used in the Future 4 Mesothelioma Treatment

04-22-2013, 02:39 PM

Stem cell research is one area that has shown promise in the fight against cancer. Last year researchers at the University of Cincinnati Cancer Center reported that lung cancer stem cells can lead to a “new avenue” for immunotherapy treatment options that specifically target stem cells. Now, researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that using stem cells from human fat could be used to “to create cancer-fighting cells.” This finding brings hope to patients with aggressive cancers including glioblastoma, which was the basis of the study, and mesothelioma.

The study was conducted to develop a new treatment for glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive form of brain tumor, that could access the “difficult-to-reach parts of the brain where cancer cells can hide and proliferate anew.”

In a press release, the researchers found that stem cells from a patient’s own adipose tissue, or fat, have the ability to home in on cancer cells leading to the potential to deliver new treatments directly to cancer cells. Known as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), the researchers referred to these as “smart devices” for their ability to track cancer cells.

The researchers believe that with the tracking ability of the MSC’s, they may be able to function as a “delivery mechanism” for carrying drugs, nanoparticles or other treatments directly to the cancer cells.

Primary treatments for glioblastoma are chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. However, much like mesothelioma, the multi-mode approach using all three treatments still leaves patients with a prognosis of just 18 months.

According to the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), “stem cells are the foundation cells for our bodies.” Stem cells are beneficial for cancer research due to their capacity to self-renew (divide in a way that generates more stem cells) and to differentiate (to turn into mature, specialized cells that make up our tissues and organs). In some cancers, researchers have identified cancer stem cells that fuel cancer growth due to their ability to continue to renew.

“Building off our findings, we may be able to find a way to arm a patient’s own healthy cells with the treatment needed to chase down those cancer cells and destroy them. It’s truly personalized medicine,” said study leader Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, M.D., a professor of neurosurgery, oncology and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Personalized care targeted to a patient’s unique mesothelioma characteristics, such as a specific genetic trait, optimizes the potential for success of the treatment and offers treatment options that may not otherwise have been considered. Mesothelioma can differ dramatically across patients and personalized treatment is advised for improved survival. Mesothelioma is an asbestos-caused cancer diagnosed in close to 3,000 Americans each year.

Quinones-Hinojosa added that continued research is underway and it will be years before human trials of “MSC delivery systems” can begin.

Results of the study are published in the journal PLOS ONE.

More articles by Nancy Meredith
Nancy Meredith is a blog and web content writer with more than 20 years of professional experience in the Information Technology industry. She has been writing about Mesothelioma for 4 years. Follow Nancy on Google+

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