Stem cell vaccine helps protect mice against numerous cancers, finds study

Stem cell vaccine helps protect mice against numerous cancers, finds study

The iPS cells work as an anti-cancer vaccine because, like many cancer cells, they resemble developmentally immature progenitor cells, which are free from the growth restrictions built into mature cells that make up the body's tissues.

Across different experiments, they found, the mice given iPSCs (the stem cells were first killed via radiation) were shown to be better at fighting off cancers of the breast, lung and skin.

Stem cells are undifferentiated biological cells, and having remarkable potential to divide into any kind of other cells.

There are two kinds of stem cells.

They are harvested when the embryo is only a few days old. Those cells could then be used to generate healthy replacement tissues for those damaged by disease or injury. We use bone marrow-derived stem cells. This form of immunotherapy, known as auto T-cell therapy, has already been used to successfully treat children with aggressive, recurring leukaemias that might have otherwise been incurable. This makes them as pluripotent as the embryonic cells, without the ethical drawbacks. Technological advancements in healthcare now saving the population from life threatening complications.Increasing funding from government, private organizations and increasing the Companies focus on Stem cell therapies are also driven this market, However, Collecting the Embryonic Stem cells are easy but Collecting Adult Stem cell or Somatic Stem cells are hard and also we have to take more precautions for storing the collected stem cells. This gives the cells their pluripotency, allowing them to turn into almost any cell in the body.

Each year, the world invests billions of dollars into cancer research, but because cancer cells multiply rapidly and without limit, developing effective treatments for the disease is extremely hard. "Why should an early embryonic cell or a cell closely related to such an embryonic cell display markers that would provoke the immune system to attack certain types of cancer cells?"

Wu and Kooreman wondered exactly how closely iPS and cancer cells resemble one another. Given the similarity between iPSC antigen loads and those of the cancer cells, there is thus a much greater chance that T cell reactions against the stem cells will also be effective against the tumours. This means that they can produce antibodies. One was injected with a control solution, one received genetically matching iPS cells that had been irradiated to prevent the formation of teratomas, one received a generic immune-stimulating agent known as an adjuvant, and one received a combination of irradiated iPS cells and adjuvant. Although the tumors grew robustly in the control groups, they shrank in size in 7 out of 10 mice vaccinated with iPS cells plus the adjuvant.

The iPSCs seemed to "prime their immune systems to eradicate tumor cells", Wu says.


Within four weeks, breast cancer tumours were rejected by 70% of the injected mice, while 30% had significantly smaller tumours.

Kooreman added an iPS cell vaccine could also potentially aid cancer treatment.

The researchers found that iPSC vaccines prevented tumor growth in syngeneic murine breast cancer, mesothelioma, and melanoma models in a prophylactic setting.

"Pending replication in humans, our findings indicate these cells may one day serve as a true patient-specific cancer vaccine". It could also be used as a follow-up booster after chemotherapy or radiation therapy, created to stop cancer from returning.

"It wouldn't surprise me if this vaccine worked on a large amount of cancers, if not all cancers", Wu said. It "isn't totally novel" to imagine stem cells as cancer vaccines, says oncologist and immunologist Willem Overwijk of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, "but it's not widely discussed".

While some people are wary of inactivated induced pluripotent stem cells, due to the supposed risk that they could mutate and turn into tumours themselves, studies have shot this theory down.

While the pharmaceutical industry continues efforts to create cell-based products, MD Stem Cells believe that harnessing the body's own fix mechanisms can produce important benefits.

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