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Fat Kills Cancer: Turning Stem Cells from Fat Tissue into,Personalized, Cancer-Targeted Therapeutics

nsert the gene cytosine deaminase into the cell. This gene can convert a less toxic drug, 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC), to 5-FU inside the stem cells, and the chemotherapy can then seep out into the tumor, producing a lethal by-stander effect.

In nude mice – animals with an inhibited immune system – engrafted with human colon cancer, the researchers first injected the engineered mesenchymal stem cells, then 5-FC. They found tumor growth was inhibited by up to 68.5 percent in the animals, and none of the mice exhibited any signs of toxic side effects.

However, none of the animals remained tumor-free. “The procedure was quite effective even though we applied the stem cells just once. Obviously, repeated treatment will increase the efficacy, as would using this strategy in combination with other treatments,” Altaner said.

Normal mesenchymal cells can be isolated from various sources, including bone marrow, but the yield is not nearly as great as what the researchers derived from fat tissue. Removal of fat tissue during surgery to remove a tumor would be simple, says Altaner. Liposuction could also be used to isolate mesenchymal stem cells can also be gathered and isolated through liposuction, and the cells frozen in liquid nitrogen for future therapeutic use. Both processes would be easier than taking bone marrow from a patient, Altaner said.

The study was funded by grants from the Slovak Academy of Sciences and the League Against Cancer, and support from the Slovakian national cancer genomics program.

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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes nearly 26,000 basic, translational, and clinical researchers; health care professionals; an
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