Harvard Stem Cell Institute scientists have a potential development to improve tumor treatments using oncolytic, cancer-killing, viruses. Khalid Shah and his team turned to mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs] to house the oncolytic viruses because they trigger a minimal immune response against the virus. The addition of a gel encompassing the MSCs keeps them alive longer to expedite the debulking, or removal, of the tumor. The investigators report that applying the gel-encapsulated MSCs to glioblastoma multiforme, the most common brain tumor in human adults, significantly improved survival in mice.
“We then compared the efficacy of virus-loaded, encapsulated MSCs versus direct injection of the virus into the cavity of the debulked tumors,” Dr. Shah goes on to say. “They survived because the virus doesn’t get washed out by the cerebrospinal fluid that fills the cavity.” “Previous studies that have injected the virus directly into the resection cavity did not follow the fate of the virus in the cavity. However, our imaging and side-by-side comparison studies showed that the naked virus rarely infects the residual tumor cells. This could give us insight into why the results from clinical trials with oncolytic viruses alone were modest.”
With clinical trials soon underway, this advancement in bioengineering will accelerate this trend and broaden applications to treat a wider variety of tumors. By banking their own valuable stem cells, families can ensure that they will have access to these emerging therapies in the near future. To learn more about banking stem cells, please visit StemSave or call 877-783- 6728 (877-StemSave) today.
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