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Posts Tagged ‘skin cells’


Stem Cells Used as Delivery Truck for Brain Cancer Drugs

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

Medulloblastoma, common brain cancer in children has been very difficult to treat therapeutically with traditional interventions which relies on surgical techniques to remove the bulk of the cancerous tissue. The researchers seen the need for novel treatments of medulloblastomas that have recurred, as well as for treatments that are less toxic overall. For this reason, data from University of North Carolina (UNC) Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and  Eshelman School of Pharmacy published a study in PLOS named “Intra-cavity stem cell therapy inhibits tumor progression in a novel murine model of medulloblastoma surgical resection”, validates how cancer-hunting stem cells can track down and deliver a drug to terminate medulloblastoma cells hiding after surgery.

The technology in the research is an extension of a discovery that won researchers a Nobel Prize in 2012 and showed they could transform skin cells into stem cells. The research team started by reprogramming skin cells into stem cells and genetically engineered them to manufacture a substance that becomes toxic to other cells when exposed to another drug. Inserting the drug carries the stem cells into the brain of laboratory models after surgery decreased the size of tumors by 15 times and extended median survival in mice by 133%.

In this study, the scientists indicated they could shrink tumors in murine models of medulloblastoma, hence extending the rodents life. The approach holds promise for reducing side effects and helping more children with medulloblastoma. Amazingly the researchers also developed a laboratory model of medulloblastoma that allowed them to simulate the way standard care is currently delivered—surgery followed by drug therapy. Using this model, they discovered that after surgically removing a tumor, the cancer cells that remained grew faster.

According to the study investigator, Shawn Hingtgen, PhD, the cells are like a FedEx truck that will deliver cytotoxic agents directly into the tumor to a particular location. In earlier studies, Dr. Hingtgen and his colleagues showed that they could flip skin cells into stem cells that hunt and transport cancer-killing drugs to glioblastoma, the deadliest malignant brain tumor in adults.

Medulloblastoma is cancer that happens mostly in kids between ages of three and eight, and while current therapy has changed survival pretty dramatically, it can still be pretty toxic. The ability to use a patient’s own cells to target the tumor directly would be “the holy grail” of therapy, the investigators trust it could hold capacity for other rare, and sometimes fatal, brain cancer types that occur in children as well.

Source

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0198596

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New CRISPR Approach Transforms Skin Cells into Pluripotent Stem Cells

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

Dr. Timo Otonkoski, University of Helsinki and Dr.Juha Kere, King’s College London succeeded on reprograming skin cells into pluripotent stem cells by activating cell’s own genes using gene editing technology, CRISPR-Cas9-based gene activation (CRISPRa) that can be used to activate genes. The method uses a blunt version of Cas9 ‘gene scissors’ that does not cut DNA and can consequently be used to activate gene expression without mutating the genome. Previously, reprogramming was only possible by artificially introducing the critical transformation genes known as Yamanaka Factors into skin cells where they are normally inactive.

According to a study that is published in Nature Communication, called Human Pluripotent Reprogramming with CRISPR activators which show that CRISPRa is an attractive tool for cellular reprogramming applications due to its high multiplex capacity and direct alignment of endogenous loci. In the article, it is presented that reprogramming of primary human dermal fibroblasts to induced pluripotent stem cells with CRISPRa, the aimed at endogenous cells. The data shows that human body cells can only be reprogrammed into iPS cells with CRISPRa, and the findings reveal the involvement of EEA motif-associated mechanisms in cellular reprogramming.

The discovery also advocates that it might be likely to improve many other reprogramming tasks by addressing genetic elements that are typical of the intended target cell type. According to Jere Weltner, PhD student working on the project “the technology can find practical application in biobanking and many other applications of tissue technology.

SOURCE

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180706091723.htm

 

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