BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A breakthrough in the field of oncology may provide the doctors with the means to combat one of the most dangerous forms of brain cancer. According to the team’s statements, the patient’s cells can be reprogrammed as to form cancer-seeking supersoldiers. The patient’s skin cells can hunt down cancerous formations, thus increasing the survival rate.
This novel approach to curing cancer can be considered as the most significant breakthrough in Medicine in the last 30 years. With this project research aimed at developing a new kind of therapy for one of the deadliest forms of brain cancer, glioblastoma.
Glioblastoma multiforme, also known as GBM or grade IV astrocytoma is the most aggressive form of cancer known to man. Unlike other forms of cancer, glioblastoma starts by invading the brain tissue. What’s even worse is that patients may be asymptomatic for a while, but as the disease progresses, they may start to exhibit various symptoms such as headaches, nausea, stroke-like symptoms and unconsciousness.
Sadly, the cause of this rapidly progressing cancer is still unknown, but doctors are yet to rule out certain unusual circumstances such as previous radiation therapy, neurofibromatosis of Li-Fraumeni syndrome.
GBM accounts for approximately 10 percent of all brain cancers, and there is little to be done in the area of prevention. Apart from being hard to diagnose and to treat, given its progression, the patient’s chance of surviving more than five years is 5 percent. Usually, according to the statistics, patients diagnosed with this form of cancer will not last longer than 12 to 15 months.
Presently, most medical researchers are searching for ways to improve the survival rate of the patients diagnosed with GBM. Not long ago, a team of US researchers declared that immunotherapy showed promising results when tested on lab mice.
And now, a new type of treatment may offer another chance to those consumed by this harrowing disease. The new study belongs to Doctor Shawn Hingtgen and his team of medical researchers from the Eshelman School of Pharmacy.
Building their study on the Nobel Prize winning technique that allows researchers to transform normal cells into stem cells, the doctor, and his team managed to devise a new generation of cancer-seeking cells by using the patient’s skin cells.
According to the doctor’s statement, the technique has shown promising results in laboratory conditions. Upon testing it on mice with GBM, the team observed that the rodent’s chances of survival rose from 5 percent to over 220 percent.
The only thing left to figure out right now is the delivery mechanism. As the doctor explains, even though the surgeon manages to resect and excise the tumor’s body, its tendrils, which extend deep into the brain cannot be removed, thus increased the chance of a relapse.
But with this new technique, a surgical approach may not be necessary. The skin cells are reprogrammed in order to seek out and destroy these invasive tendrils along with the body of the tumor. The skin cells are also known as fibroblasts usually produce connective tissue and collagen. These little buggers also possess the ability to move freely throughout the body.
Based on their research, the team has discovered that they can also use the reprogramming technique in order to fashion another cancer-destroying protein.
The patient’s skin cells can hunt down cancerous formations if the technique can be applied on human stem cells. Right now the team has begun to work with human cells in hope that they will be able to use the same personalized treatment to cure people suffering from glioblastoma.