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Stem cells from human body fat used to deliver treatment for deadly glioblastoma in mice

Johns Hopkins researchers say they have successfully used stem cells derived from human body fat to deliver biological treatments directly to the brains of mice with the most common and aggressive form of brain tumor, significantly extending their lives.

In the mouse experiments, the Johns Hopkins investigators used mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) – which have an unexplained ability to seek out cancer and other damaged cells – that they harvested from human fat tissue. They modified the MSCs to secrete bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4), a small protein involved in regulating embryonic development and known to have some tumor suppression function. The researchers, who had already given a group of mice glioblastoma cells several weeks earlier, injected stem cells armed with BMP4 into their brains.

In a report published in Clinical Cancer Research, the investigators say the mice treated this way had less tumor growth and spread, and their cancers were overall less aggressive and had fewer migratory cancer cells compared to mice that didn’t get the treatment. Meanwhile, the mice that received stem cells with BMP4 survived significantly longer, living an average of 76 days, as compared to 52 days in the untreated mice.
Standard treatments for glioblastoma include chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, but even a combination of all three rarely leads to more than 18 months of survival after diagnosis. Finding a way to get biologic therapy to mop up what other treatments can’t get is a long-sought goal, says Quinones-Hinojosa, who cautions that years of additional studies are needed before human trials of fat-derived MSC therapies could begin.

medicalnewstoday