The use of stem cell therapy in cancer treatment implies the revenue of the red bone marrow. Red bone marrow is suffering from the chemotherapeutic treatment, as well as from radiation therapy. Since the intrinsic structures of the red bone marrow suffer, they need to be “updated”. For this, healthy stem cells are transplanted into the bone marrow.
What is a stem cell transplant done for?
With the help of stem cell therapy, it is possible to completely restore the normal process of hematopoiesis, destroyed by chemotherapy, radiation, or leukemia. Introduced intravenously, hematopoietic stem cells are moving through the bloodstream, settle in the patient’s bone marrow, and give origin to new blood cells.
Many tens of thousands of patients receive such stem cell transplants in Germany each year. If you or your relatives need treatment abroad, with the assistance of Booking Health it will be as comfortable as possible. Booking Health provides a full range of medical services, from quick preventive examinations and diagnostics in the best hospitals to comprehensive treatment and recovery after it. Moreover, the complex organization includes not only the medical services themselves but also the arrangement of a trip to Germany at the most affordable prices.
How do stem cells help with oncology?
The patient’s own material is used in autologous transplantation during the treatment of neuroblastomas, testicular cancer, lymphomas, and brain tumors. In this case, hematopoietic stem cells are harvested from the patient in advance, frozen, and then introduced back. This allows you to treat cancer with high-dose chemotherapy that damages the bone marrow. After it, autologous transplantation restores blood formation without causing immune complications, such as the graft versus host reaction.
Donor material is transplanted to the patient during allogeneic transplantation, which is also applied in patients with leukemia, aplastic anemia, and severe hereditary diseases (Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, Fanconi anemia, Blackfan-Diamond anemia, etc.). Hematopoietic cells for transplant are harvested from a close relative (usually a brother or sister) or a person selected using the donor registry. The meaning of the transplant is to replace the patient’s own blood formation with the donor one and thus cure the disease of the hematopoietic system.
Can stem cells become any specific cells?
The boom in stem cell research has created great confusion in the minds of many researchers who first addressed this topic. The plasticity of many populations of normal stem cells is significantly overrated. There are allegations that stem cells of nerve tissue can turn into myocytes or hepatocytes; mesenchymal stem cells – into osteoblasts, cardiomyocytes; hepatic stem cells can turn into neurons and myocytes, etc. In order to acquire such a possibility of transdifferentiation, committed stem cells must dedifferentiate to an embryonic state in order to regain totipotency, that is, the ability to differentiate into any type of cell. A variety of examples of morphogenesis have shown that there is no complete dedifferentiation in nature and, probably, such a scenario of events is generally impossible.
Can stem cells be used to diagnose cancer?
The ability of stem cells to find a tumor can have practical importance. Thanks to the radioactive labels, it is possible to detect foci of malignant growth that can not be detected by other imaging methods. The life of the patient and the effectiveness of treatment in oncology depend on how timely the malignant growth is diagnosed. Stem cells can be modified and used as vectors to save people affected by malignant neoplasms.
Chemotherapy and stem cells
A clinically manifested tumor usually has billions of malignant cells that need to be destroyed. However, the population of tumor cells is heterogeneous, and the sensitivity of different tumor cells to cancer therapy is different. Therefore, it is extremely important to be able to overcome resistance to antitumor pharmaceuticals in the vast majority of tumor cells. It turned out that this can be achieved by introducing a dose of cytostatics that is ten times higher than the permissible standard dose. Such a sharp increase in the amount of the drug always leads to significant, often irreversible, damage to the hematopoietic cells of the bone marrow and disabling the function of hematopoiesis for many months.
If blood circulation is not restored, a person will die. The main method to overcome the hematological toxicity of chemotherapy is the transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells. In this case, hematopoietic stem cells are harvested either from the donor or from the patient himself. They are administered after the complete elimination of cytostatics from the body. Stem cell therapy in cancer treatment allows to relatively quickly and effectively restore the blood system’s function and save the patient.
Nivolumab, an immunotherapy drug, has been described as a potential “game-changer” in promising results presented at the European Cancer Congress.
In a study of head and neck cancer, more patients taking the drug survived for longer compared with those who were treated with chemotherapy.
In another study, combining nivolumab with another drug shrank tumors in advanced kidney cancer patients.
Immunotherapy works by harnessing the immune system to destroy cancer cells.
Advanced head and neck cancer has very poor survival rates.
In a trial of more than 350 patients, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 36% treated with nivolumab (Opdivo) were alive after one year compared with 17% who received chemotherapy.
Patients also experienced fewer side effects from immunotherapy.
The benefits were more pronounced in patients whose tumors had tested positive for HPV (human papillomavirus). These patients survived an average of 9.1 months with nivolumab and 4.4 months with chemotherapy.
Normally, this group of patients are expected to live less than six months.
Early data from a study of 94 patients with advanced kidney cancer showed that the double hit of nivolumab and ipilimumab resulted in a significant reduction in the size of tumors in 40% of patients.
Of these patients, one in 10 had no sign of cancer remaining.
This compares with 5% of patients showing tumor reduction after standard therapy.
Nivolumab and ipilimumab both work by interrupting the chemical signals that cancers use to convince the immune system they are healthy tissue.
According to a new research, HIV can be flushed out of its hiding places in the body using PEP005 – one of the ingredients in a treatment to prevent cancer in sun-damaged skin.
The cornerstone of treatment, anti-retroviral therapy, kills the virus in the bloodstream but leaves “HIV reservoirs” untouched.
The study, published in PLoS Pathogens, showed PEP005 was “highly potent” at reactivating hidden HIV.
Experts said the findings were interesting, but it was important to know if PEP005 was safe in patients.
The power of the HIV reservoir was shown with the case of the Mississippi baby.
The baby girl was given antiretroviral drugs at birth. Despite appearing to be free of HIV for nearly two years after stopping treatment, she was found to be harboring the virus.
A strategy known as “kick and kill” is thought to be key to curing HIV – the kick would wake up the dormant HIV allowing the drugs to kill it.
The team at the Davis School of Medicine investigated PEP005. They tested the drug in cells grown in the laboratory and in parts of the immune system taken from 13 people with HIV.
The report said “PEP005 is highly potent in reactivating latent HIV” and that the chemical represents “a new group of lead compounds for combating HIV”.
One of the researchers, Dr, Satya Dandekar, said: “We are excited to have identified an outstanding candidate for HIV reactivation and eradication that is already approved and is being used in patients.
“This molecule has great potential to advance into translational and clinical studies.”
However, PEP005 has still not been tested in people who are HIV-positive.
Researchers have found that a genetically-engineered version of the cold sore virus (herpes simplex virus) could treat skin cancer.
T-Vec, the modified herpes virus, is harmless to normal cells but when injected into tumors it replicates and releases substances to help fight the cancer.
The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, show the therapy could lengthen survival by years – but only for some melanoma patients.
The treatment is not yet licensed.
Similar “immunotherapy” treatments for melanoma are already available in the US and in Europe, but researchers believe T-Vec would be a welcome addition to these.
It would also be the first melanoma treatment that uses a virus.
The latest study is the largest ever randomized trial of an anti-cancer virus and involved 436 patients from 64 centers in the US, the UK, Canada and South Africa who had inoperable malignant melanoma.
UK trial leader Prof Kevin Harrington, from the Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: “There is increasing excitement over the use of viral treatments like T-Vec for cancer, because they can launch a two-pronged attack on tumors – both killing cancer cells directly and marshalling the immune system against them.
“And because viral treatment can target cancer cells specifically, it tends to have fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy or some of the other new immunotherapies.”
Although it has not yet been licensed, doctors are excited about the very real prospect of a brand new type of treatment for advanced melanoma – and, in the future, possibly other cancers too.
The idea of using viruses to enter and kill cancerous cells has been gathering scientific pace and kudos.
This latest study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology is the largest ever randomized trial of an anti-cancer virus and provides tantalizing evidence that the treatment concept could soon be moved into the clinic, after decades of work in the lab.
Researchers now want to do more studies to identify which patients might benefit from the treatment and whether it should be used alongside other melanoma drugs that are already approved.
Drug regulators will be watching closely and will soon make a final decision about T-Vec.
Damage to the skin by the sun’s harmful UV rays increases your risk of developing this cancer.
A discovery about how cells die could lead to ways to protect fertility in women having cancer treatment, researchers suggest.
Australian scientists found two specific proteins caused the death of early egg cells in the ovaries.
Blocking them meant cells survived the effects of radiotherapy, according to the study published in the journal Molecular Cell.
The researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Monash University and Prince Henry’s Institute of Medical Research looked at egg cells called primordial follicle oocytes, which provide each woman’s lifetime supply of eggs.
A discovery about how cells die could lead to ways to protect fertility in women having cancer treatment
They found that, when the DNA of cells is damaged through chemotherapy or radiotherapy, two proteins called Puma and Noxa cause the eggs to die.
This causes many female cancer patients to become infertile.
Low numbers of egg cells can also lead to a woman going through an early menopause.
When these cells were manipulated so they did not have the Puma protein, they did not die after being exposed to radiation therapy.
Prof. Jeff Kerr, from Monash University, who worked on the study said: “This might ordinarily be cause for concern because you want damaged egg cells to die so as not to produce abnormal offspring.”
But he added: “To our great surprise we found that not only did the cells survive being irradiated, they were able to repair the DNA damage they had sustained and could be ovulated and fertilized, producing healthy offspring.
“When the cells were also missing the Noxa protein, there was even better protection against radiation.”
Prof. Clare Scott, from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, who also worked on the lab and animal research, added: “It means that in the future, medications that block the function of Puma could be used to stop the death of egg cells in patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
“Our results suggest that this could maintain the fertility of these patients.”
The researchers said that the discovery could also mean it would be possible to slow the loss of egg cells from the ovaries, thereby delaying early menopause.
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