The latest research on brain tumor finds that stem cells that kill cancer can be a new direction toward tumor treatment. Scientists from University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, UNC School of Medicine reported results from early studies that demonstrates how skin cells of a person with brain tumor can be converted into stem cells, which help reduce the size of the tumor. Not only that, the life span of the patient also increased.
Medulloblastoma is a cancerous tumor usually popular among children and leads to cancer. It starts at a region of the brain at the base of the skull known as posterior fossa. These tumors then start spreading to other parts of the brain and spinal cord. This is a high risk disease and has more chances of a fatal conclusion within 2 to 5 years. Radiation treatment and chemotherapy used for the treatment of Medulloblastoma can be very toxic for the developing brain of kids.
Research still in Incipient Stage for Drug Delivery to be a part of Standard Cancer Care
The study conducted on mice models shows that the skin cells of humans could be genetically reprogrammed into stem cells while engineering them to manufacture a substance. This substance, when exposed to another drug, becomes toxic to other cells. This drug carrying stem cells was inserted into the brain which then decreased the tumor size by 15 times. When experimented on mice, the median of survival before the drug insertion was 133 percent before the experiment which decreased to 123 per cent after the experiment indicating that the life of the mice was prolonged.
The researchers developed a Medulloblastoma disease laboratory model to stimulate the standard care currently followed that surgery to remove the tumor and followed by drug therapies. But it has been noticed after the tumor was surgically removed, the remaining cancer cells grew faster. The novel stem cell method developed did away with the need for tumor resection but reduced the size of the tumor, thus proving to be more effective.
Although this experiment is still in early stages and has not been tested on humans, the scenario of curing brain tumor in children is likely to improve with this approach in the years to come.