University of California researchers are fighting a variety of rare pediatric diseases with stem cells. Funding provided by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine will address fatal conditions such as severe combined immunodeficiency, Tay-Sachs and Sandhoff disease, along with diseases ranging from cancer to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Mesenchymal stem cells have been proven to act as enhancer agents of local and systemic effects of radiotherapy. This development could lead to effective use of radiotherapy in cancer treatment. José Mariano Ruiz de Almodóvar, lead author of this research explains, “MSCs have a huge potential for the treatment of cancer, given that they are capable of burying themselves in a tumor and, when preactivated or directly activated by in vivo radiation, release cytokines and tumor suppressor proteins which significantly improve the control mechanisms the ionizing radiation exerts on tumors.”
In a recently published article, scientists from the German Cancer Research Center [DKFZ] have detailed the risks of stress-induced stem cell activation to cause DNA damage. Stressful events within the body drive adult stem cells into high energy states of rapid cell division and DNA synthesis to produce blood or repair damaged tissue. But since the transition from dormancy to executing these complicated functions is so abrupt, DNA is more likely to be damaged, resulting in cell death or harmful mutations.