Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a neurological disorder that is a leading cause of disability in young adults. May 29 is World MS Day; started in 2009, it is a global campaign to raise awareness of MS which affects more than 2 million people world-wide and an estimated 400,000 Americans. There is no cure for MS and current therapies have only limited benefits to slow disease progression. Learn more about MS on Research!America’s fact sheet.
Recent research from Johns Hopkins Medicine that received government support shows that stem cells isolated from a patient’s own fat may be able to deliver new treatments directly into the brain to fight an aggressive brain tumor. The work, done in the laboratory of Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, MD, is a proof-of-principle study that tests the ability of a particular type of stem cell, mesenchymal stem cells, to locate damaged or cancerous cells.
Cancer cells, particularly those in glioblastomas, the most common type of brain tumor, often break away from the main tumor and relocate to another area of the body. While neurosurgeons like Quinones-Hinojosa can carefully remove these tumors, radiation and chemotherapy are often insufficient to kill these run-away cancer cells. The promising results from this basic science study suggest that in the future, mesenchymal stem cells isolated from the patient’s own fat tissue can be modified and put back into the body to seek out and destroy isolated cancer cells in the brain after surgical removal of the tumor. Continue reading →