Posted by: 2in10 | 01/30/2011

fight cancer with cancer

In The Wall Street Journal January 25, 2011, the Personal Journal ran a front page story by Ron Winslow:

“Researchers at the Rogosin Institute are taking tumor cells from mice, encapsulating them in beads made from a seawood-derived sugar called agarose, and implanting them in the abdomen of cancer patients. There, cells in the beads secrete proteins researchers believe could signal a patient’s cancer to stop growing, shrink, or even die.”

Studies with mice, cats and dogs with cancer have had promising results. Phase 2 clinical trials approved by the FDA will test the technique on people with advanced cancers of the colon, pancreas, and prostate.

If tumor cells from one animal can provide factors that inhibit tumors in another animal, Dr. Howard Parnes of the National Cancer Institute says that indicates that these inhibitory factors have existed for millions of years.

Tumor cells have factors that signal the circulatory system to form blood vessels that allow tumor cells to flourish. At a certain point in their proliferation, tumor cells sense the neighborhood is getting crowded and can release other factors that inhibit growth.

Dr. Barry Smith, director of the Rogosin Institute, says the beads secrete 700+ proteins and peptides, including some that contribute to cell death and the blocking of blood vessel formation. Apparently tumors have redundant systems to insure their survival and this multi-avenue approach can potentially block tumor activity on several fronts.

Of course it will be a while before this treatment, if effective, is generally available. But I love to hear about an approach that is “outside the box.”



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