Healthcare Industry News:  neuroblastoma 

Biopharmaceuticals Oncology

 News Release - December 21, 2006

Genetically Modified Cells Attack Tumors

St. Jude researchers show genetically modified cells seek out tumors, produce enzyme that activates a chemotherapy drug

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 21 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- neuroblastoma tumors have been successfully treated in the lab with genetically modified cells that sought out and activated a chemotherapy drug placed directly at the cancer cells, according to investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and their colleagues at City of Hope National Medical Center (Duarte, CA) and the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada). neuroblastoma is a solid tumor that arises in a part of the nervous system outside the brain.

The researchers showed that the cells migrated to tumors regardless of how small the tumors were or where they were located in the body. The cells produced an enzyme that activated the chemotherapy drug CPT-11 (irinotecan) at the site of the tumors. A report on this work appears in the Dec. 20 issue of the journal PLoS ONE.

The study is the first to demonstrate that such cells, called neural stem- progenitor cells (NSPCs), can be used to target solid tumors that have spread. The fact that the drug is already used to treat cancers should make it easier to translate these laboratory findings to the clinic, the researchers noted.

Authors include Rebecca A. Bush, Doris A. Phelps, Joanna S. Remack, Karina Jin Yoon, Philip M. Potter and Mary K. Danks (St. Jude); Karen S. Aboody, Elizabeth Garcia, Marianne Z. Metz, Joseph Najbauer, Kristin A. Justus, Shanna Gillespie and Carlotta A. Glackin (City of Hope) and Seung U. Kim (University of British Columbia).

This work was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute, Stop Cancer Foundation, Phi Beta Psi Sorority, Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Neidorf Family Foundation, Marcus Foundation and ALSAC.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fund-raising organization. For more information, please visit www.stjude.org.


Source: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

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