Stem cells can help realise personalized cancer treatment

January 15th, 2009 - 11:48 am ICT by ANI  

Washington, January 15 (ANI): Israeli researchers have reached a step closer to realising the dream of developing personalized cancer therapies by using cancer cells from an ovarian cancer patient, human embryonic stem cells, and mice to create a pre-clinical experimental model that mimics the way a tumour would develop in the patients body.
Scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technologys Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and Rambam Medical Center point out that, to date, there have been very few pre-clinical experimental models in which cancer cells from an actual patient could be successfully grown in such a manner.
Writing about their work in the online edition of Clinical Cancer Research, lead researchers Karl Skorecki and Maty Tzukerman revealed that they created the model by introducing a human patients ovarian cancer stem cells into a teratomaa growth made up of a mixture of human tissues, including blood vessels, fat tissue and connective tissuein a mouse.
The researcher further revealed that the teratoma in the mouse was derived from human embryonic stem cells.
Growing cancer stem cells from the patient in a way that mirrors their growth in the human body could allow clinicians to check the sensitivity of a particular tumor to different treatments. This ability could provide clinicians with ways to customize cancer treatments for each individual patient, said Dr. Tzukerman.
Both experts supervised Technion graduate student Ehood Katz, who from one patient isolated and characterized six different subpopulations of ovarian cancer cells, each of which was placed into a different teratoma.
According to the researchers, the cells from the patient reflected a variety of characteristics of ovarian cancer in different patients, and also exposed the presence of master cells the progenitors responsible for the recurrence and regrowth of cancer, even after derivative daughter cells are killed off by chemotherapy.
They insisted that their findings emphasized that the choice of the environment in which to establish the experimental platform to grow cells and establish the tumour model was crucial.
The choice of the right milieu is critical in order to expose a subset of the most relevant cancer cells to study and target, and which otherwise might evade such study, said Skorecki. (ANI)

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