Regenerative medicine is on the rise and stem cell therapy is foundational to its ascent.
Stem cells can transform into other cells that are found in the body. Given this fact, a 2018 research study is being conducted on whether stem cells may be used to prevent or cure diseases, many of which have been considered incurable. Parkinson’s disease, type 1 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, strokes, burns, heart disease, osteoarthritis, hearing loss and vision loss are all being researched in regards to stem cell therapy.
Researchers want to know definitively if stem cells can be utilized to repair severely damaged tissue and reverse serious conditions like these.
Battling Cancer with Stem Cells
In a recent study, researchers believe they may have discovered a new way to defeat cancer cells.
How stem cells metabolize was the focus of the research, and it was discovered that attacking the energy supply of cancer cells is believed to be effective. University of Michigan scientists focused on cancer cells as they relate to drug resistance. It is a fact that medications often become ineffective after initially working against the targeted cancer. Scientists are turning their attention to stem cells and how they may offer a solution to the problem.
Stem cells are present in cancerous tumors in small amounts. However, given stem cells’ ability to transform into different cell types, they may play a significant role in the spread of cancer or relapse in patients with previously positive results from chemotherapy and radiation therapy. These stem cells are generally intact following chemo and radiation, leading researchers to believe that stem cells are resistant to cancer treatments because of their ability to change form.
Research seems to support the theory that stem cells transform to escape the targeted therapy.
Dr. Max S. Wicha, the lead researcher on the study, indicated in a recent Cell Metabolism article that multiple therapies may be required in order to fend off multiple forms these stem cells adopt.
How stem cells metabolize are key to their transformation from one state to the other. It is as cells transition that they become the targets of cancer treatments.
In their dormant phase, stem cells require glucose, then require fuel as they begin specializing and dividing. It is the mitochondria, which is dependent on oxygen, that provides fuel for transitioning stem cells. It is theorized that blocking mitochondria may shut down the transformation process.
Researchers introduced an arthritis drug to block mitochondria and also manipulated glucose levels, in effect blocking the stem cells from transitioning into a specific type of cell (in this case, cancer). The study is still in its early stages, but the research is promising.
Because of recent studies, scientists believe that there are links between the immune system and metabolism. Authors of this stem cell cancer study feel confident in a future where immunotherapies, combined with a metabolic approach will improve the results of cancer treatments on dividing cancer cells.
Systemic Laboratories is a leading, FDA-registered laboratory processing adult autologous stem cell tissue in a controlled environment. For more information regarding our method of extracting stromal vascular fraction, adipose tissue, or bone marrow, give us a call at (718) 268-6060.