Scientists use magnetic stem cells to fight cancer

Researchers have developed a technology to control magnetic stem cells for use in combating cancer.
By Amy Wallace  |  Dec. 28, 2016 at 10:05 AM
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TOMSK, Russia, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Scientists have developed a technology to control mesenchymal stem cells or MSCs, in an effort to fight cancer cells in the body.

Researchers from Tomsk Polytechnic University's Laboratory of Novel Dosage are using a patient's own magnetic stem cells to target cancer cells effectively.

The team collaborated with scientists from Pavlov State Medical University of St. Petersburg and Queen Mary University in London, England.

Magnet-controlled microcapsules with a drug inside are "captured" by the MSCs, which are a size of about 10 microns. An external magnet targets the cells to the tumor, where they deliver the encapsulated drug.

"Mesenchymal stem cells are inherently able to migrate toward tumors," Alexander Timin, JRF at the Novel Dosage Laboratory, RASA Center at TPU, said in a press release. "They also can differentiate under control into mesodermal cell types of bone, fat, cartilage, muscle or connective tissue in vivo and in vitro. Therefore, MSCs are very attractive for researchers and practical physicians to apply them in substitute therapy, gene or cell engineering."

This is the first time scientists have been able to demonstrate the efficiency of internalization of magnetic microcapsules by MSCs to functionalize cells and design magnetic-controlled cells and tissues in fighting cancer.

The study was published in Advanced Healthcare Materials.

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