Siberia | Technology & innovation

Novosibirsk scientists can now decisively deal with cancerous stem cells

26 Dec '16
Specialists at the Novosibirsk-based Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Siberia have discovered what they call a universal marker for cancerous stem cells, and have developed a method of destroying such cells, which has reportedly led to successful treatment of two different malignant tumors in lab mice.

According to Evgeniya Dolgova, PhD, adding DNA fragments to cancerous stem cells results in the cells capturing the fragments. This is the very principle the new Novosibirsk marker has been built on. The scientists added a special fluorochrome dye to a DNA probe, and cells that captured it began to gleam red in a certain spectrum. The researchers believe the discovery might lead to a real breakthrough in studying the few cells that trigger serious cancers.

The research team also decided to see if the DNA technique, coupled with others, could stop tumor growth. They found that DNA fragments that got into a cancerous stem cell after a special chemotherapeutic drug, cyclophosphan, impacted it thwarted the cellís reparation process, and the cell died soon.

That led to successfully treating 50% of lab mice used in the experiment, and later the mice gave birth to healthy progeny. Applying the new therapeutic approach to a solid form of cancer (when a tumor intertwines with muscles and keeps growing as solid neoplasm) was reported to be also successful.

Plans are to test the new cancerous stem cell destruction therapy on other sorts of malignant tumors. The researchers are working on an improved diagnostic and monitoring method for ovary and stomach cancer therapy, using the new marker. Assessing the number of cancerous stem cells prior to and after treatment is expected to help physicians determine whether the disease has been dealt with for good, or relapses are possible.