Researchers at the University of Zurich are utilizing dental stem cells to regenerate mammary glands and milk-producing cells. The study has the potential to impact millions of breast cancer survivors who have had to have mastectomies to eliminate their breast cancer. Mastectomies are often used as a treatment or preventative measure for breast cancer, where all breast tissue is removed in order to remove cancerous tissues or significantly reduce the risk in people with a strong family history of breast cancer. Currently, the impact on women who have children following a mastectomy is that they can no longer reap the benefits of breast feeding their children.
Researchers at the University of California Irvine have created a method of engineering mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to specifically target and help destroy cancer metastasis, which is an indicator of cancer spreading and the cause of approximately 90% of cancer deaths. The researchers are utilizing MSCs that have been engineered to detect stiffened tissues, a typical indicator of breast cancer metastases. These stem cells then release an enzyme upon detection of the cancer cells that triggers the activation of a localized chemotherapy. This is a revolutionary method of treating cancer given that one of the biggest concerns with chemotherapy is its ability to not only harm cancer cells, but also harm healthy cells as well.