Sunday, July 29, 2018

Killing cancer with cancer

Everyone knows the saying you don't fight fire with fire, but what if you can fight cancer with cancer. A Group of researchers at Brigham and Woman's Hospital believes that one can use the homing ability of cancer cells to find and kill other cancer cells. They believe they can do this by using CRISPR-engineered therapeutic cancer cells. These new cancer cells then find other cancer cells as they do normally however then using what the researchers refer to as a "kill switch", terminated the other cancer. This is most useful when the cancer is in a hard to get to location and other methods would not be as useful to the patient.
This research was done on mice, using the mice's own cancer cells (and reprogramming them), found that the engineered cells moved toward the mice's cancer in the brain then targeted and killed the recurrent and metastatic cancer. They target "cell surface receptors specific to the tumor site" (2)
Corresponding author Khalid Shah MS, PhD, director of the Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging (CSTI) in the BWH Department of Neurosurgery and faculty at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI), "Cell-based therapies hold tremendous promise for delivering therapeutic agents to tumors and may provide treatment options where standard therapy has failed. With our technique, we show it is possible to reverse-engineer a patient's own cancer cells and use them to treat cancer. We think this has many implications and could be applicable across all cancer cell types." This has shown to help the survival rate of these mice and may one day help humans. 
This new research will in my opinion will only help broaden the tools for ending cancer. I also have a feeling this kind of re-engineering can be used not only for cancer cells but maybe for infectious diseases as well.


No comments:

Post a Comment