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Ability to track stem cells in tumors could advance cancer treatments
Date:6/16/2008

NEW ORLEANS, La.Using noninvasive molecular imaging technology, a method has been developed to track the location and activity of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in the tumors of living organisms, according to researchers at SNM's 55th Annual Meeting. This ability could lead to major advances in the use of stem cell therapies to treat cancer.

"Stem cell cancer therapies are still in the early stages of development, but they offer great promise in delivering personalized medicine that will fight disease at the cellular level," said Hui Wang, a postdoctoral fellow from Prof. Xiaoyuan (Shawn) Chen's group of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS), Department of Radiology at Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., and lead researcher of the study, Trafficking the Fate of Mesenchymal Stem Cells In Vivo. "Our results indicate that molecular imaging can play a critical role in understanding and improving the process of how stem cells migrate to cancer cells. Eventually, this technique could also be used to determine if gene-modified stem cells are effective in fighting cancer."

MSCs are adult stem cells that have the ability to transform into many different types of cells, such as bone, fat or cartilage. Many scientists believe that stem cells show great promise in treating different types of diseasesand a few stem cell therapies are already used to fight some types of cancer. Leukemia patients who haven't responded to chemotherapy, for example, may receive bone marrow transplants, through which stem cells of a healthy bone marrow donor are injected into the patient's blood stream. If the transplant is successful, the stem cells will migrate to the patient's bone marrow and begin producing healthy cells that will replace the cancer cells. For other types of cancer, researchers are experimenting with modifying stem cells that could be engineered to deliver chemotherapy more precisely to specific tumor sites.

For these types of treatmen
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Contact: Amy Shaw
ashaw@snm.org
703-652-6773
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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