Scientists claim that Stem Cells obtained from skin provide a new weapon against brain tumors. Jedd Wolchok, a cancer immunotherapy expert at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, says that nanoparticles are thinner than a human hair, and help to fight tumors. Previously, doctors used stem cells to target breast cancer tumors. Latest clinical trials show that the new therapy is useful for patients with brain tumors. According to a study published in the journal "Science Translational Medicine," the treatment shrinks the tumors and extends the survival of victims.

Forget about drugs

Researcher says that it's time to forget about drugs that spur the immune system to fight tumors. Stem cells will be used on a large scale to treat patients. Every year, pharmaceutical companies develop a number of antibodies and proteins that block the overexpressed molecules, enabling the immune system to target tumors. All these medicines are harmful to the nervous system. In contrast, the stem cells directly target a tumor without damaging the neurons. Jedd Wolchok believes that the current anti-cancer drugs work in only 10% to 40% of patients. There is no use of drugs that target only several cells of a tumor and fail to completely destroy it. Stem cells destroy a tumor within a few minutes.

However, the process is very complicated and only experienced neurosurgeons should perform an operation. Once a patient receives radiation therapy to shrink a tumor, his immune system mounts an aggressive response that wipes out both the tumors and metastases throughout the body.

The future of this technique

Jedd Wolchok will find out whether it is possible to use nontoxic nanoparticles to sensitize the immune system or not.

He requires more time and further research before he publishes his findings. He says that it is not easy to pass the nanoparticles through the tumors as the particles are bigger than macrophages. However, specific blood proteins can be used to coat the nanoparticles, facilitating their uptake. Once these particles reach the brain tumor, they act as tumor killers. Jedd and his team will carry out an experiment on mice with breast cancer. Wolchok builds his study on an earlier discovery that brain stem cells have a weird affinity for cancers.