In a study conducted by the Harvard Stem Cell Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, a research team led by Dr. Khalid Shah, MS, PhD, utilized Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) to facilitate the delivery of a tumor-killing virus into an animal model afflicted with brain cancer. The virus was loaded onto the MSCs and encapsulated into a biocompatible gel that, when injected into the models, resulted in a higher viral efficacy and increased survival rate.
Prior to the work of Dr. Shah and his team, the virus was directly injected into cancer patients. This method only yielded moderate results, as the virus was washed away by cerebrospinal fluid before it could infect the tumors. The investigators’ novel use of MSCs protects the virus from the fluid, as well as an immune response, allowing it to replicate and kill more cancer cells. This research has obvious implications for patients suffering from not only brain cancer, but malignancies in the breasts, lungs, and skin as well.
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