This special appearance of adult stem cells from bone marrow as a supplier of a cancer killing protein has been demonstrated by the researchers from the Centre for Respiratory Research at the University College of London.
Researchers genetically engineered mesenchymal stem cells(MSCs )in such a way that can deliver TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), destroying the tumor cells while sparing normal cells.
Studies had shown that MSCs can be used as vectors to deliver anti-tumor therapy, while other studies found that TRAIL killed cancer cells, but not normal cells.
Researcher Michael Loebinger, M.D., M.A, andh S. M. Janes, M.D., Ph.D., identified those cells likely to be resistant to therapies (cancer cells that have characteristics of stem cells) and found that they were just as likely to be destroyed as tumor cells by this novel therapy.
In mice, The researchers showed that the stem cells could reduce the growth of subcutaneous breast tumors in mice, by approximately 80 percent (p< .0001).
The stem cells could also be injected intravenously as therapy for mice with lung metastases and could eliminate lung metastases in 38 percent of mice compared to control mice, all of which still had metastases (p=0.03).
It is expected that the human trials of TRAIL-expressing MSCs could begin in two or three years.
The research had been funded by the medical Research Council UK,. It will be presented on May 19, at the American Thoracic Society’s 105th International Conference in San Diego.