About five years ago, Professor Janet Sawicki at the Lankenau Institute in Pennsylvania read an article about nanoparticles developed by MIT’s Daniel Anderson and Robert Langer for gene therapy, the insertion of genes into living cells for the treatment of disease. Sawicki was working on treating ovarian cancer by delivering — through viruses — the gene for the diphtheria toxin, which kills tumor cells (…)
Image via Wikipedia
Scientists have developed a new tool that illuminates connections between stem cells and cancer.
Researchers have been successful in breaking apart human prostate tissue, extract the stem cells in the tissue, and alter those cells genetically so that they spur cancer.
Many tissues contain pools of stem cells that replenish the tissue when it’s damaged or when changes take place. For example, stem cells in the skin produce new cells to replace those irreparably damaged by the sun, and stem cells in the breast create milk-producing cells when a woman is pregnant.
A characteristic of these stem cells is that
The drug metformin, a mainstay of diabetes care for 15 years, may have a new life as a cancer treatment, researchers said.
In a study in mice, low doses of the drug, combined with a widely used chemotherapy called doxorubicin, shrank breast-cancer tumors and prevented their recurrence more effectively than chemotherapy alone.
The findings add to a growing body of evidence that metformin, marketed as Glugophase by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and available in generic versions, could be a potent antitumor medicine.
They also lend support to an emerging theory that cancer’s ability to survive and resist therapy is regulated by cancer stem
An experimental drug is on the way, which might be effective to fight brain cancer (glioblastoma) and prostate cancer.
The researchers are experimenting on this drug at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre (UTSMC).
According to Jerry Shay, professor of cell biology, the drugs are promisisng because they attack not only the tumour cells but also the rare cancer stem cells in the body. So, it would be effective to root out cancer from the body.
“Because it attacks a mechanism that’s active in most cancers, it might prove to be widely useful, especially when combined with other therapies,” said Shay.
Image by Stuck in Customs via Flickr
Hong Kong scientists say they have identified the cancer stem cells responsible for the spread of colorectal cancer to other organs and believe the find will revolutionise treatment.
Current treatments regard all cancer cells as alike, but the Hong Kong University researchers discovered that cancers contain a small number of stem cells responsible for starting and maintaining tumours.
“It will revolutionise the approach to cancer treatment in future,” one researcher, Ronnie Poon, told the South China Morning Post.