Nav: Home

Ireland Cancer Center researchers advance stem cell gene therapy

December 12, 2007

Ireland Cancer Center of University Hospitals Case Medical Center researchers have recently made great strides in stem cell gene therapy research by transferring a new gene to cancer patients, via their own stem cells, with the ultimate goal of being able to use stronger chemotherapy treatment with less severe side effects. Under this protocol, MGMT, a drug-resistance gene, is added into purified hematopoietic stem cells to protect these cells from the damage of chemotherapy regimens.

In one of 24 presentations by Ireland Cancer Center researchers at the annual American Society of Hematology meeting, Stanton Gerson, MD, and colleagues presented that eight patients were enrolled on the trial and six were infused with their own stem cells which were engineered to carry the MGMT gene. In three patients, stem cells carrying the gene were identified in their blood or bone marrow. In one patient, stem cells carrying the gene were detected up to 28 weeks after their administration. This significant finding has never been reported before with this gene and drug combination.

¡§This study is the first to show the success of treatment with evidence that stem cells now carry the new gene,¡¨ says Dr. Gerson, Director of the Ireland Cancer Center and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, who spearheaded the Phase I study along with a team of researchers. ¡§These patients show the success of treatment with evidence that their stem cells now carry the new genes. This is a breakthrough ¡V the first time selection with MGMT has been shown to occur in patients.¡¨

Preclinical animal research, conducted by Dr. Gerson and his colleagues, has shown that the gene G156A-MGMT can provide stem cells with very high levels of drug resistance, compared to normal stem cells not carrying the gene. In the Phase I trial for patients with advanced malignancies, researchers collected peripheral blood stem cells from patients and exposed them to a retrovirus containing the G156A-MGMT gene.

In addition to this promising research, Ireland Cancer Center scientists presented 24 oral and poster presentations at ASH. ¡§The breadth and depth of this innovative hematologic research at the Ireland Cancer Center are outstanding,¡¨ says Alvin Schmaier, MD, Chief of Hematology/Oncology at UHCMC and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. ¡§Our faculty is making tremendous advances in these fields which is reflected in their being chosen for oral and poster presentations.¡¨

The presentations include:
  • Dr. Hillard Lazarus and colleagues presented significant findings that treatment with Rituximab before transplantation results in cure rate and overall survival in patients undergoing autologous stem cell transplantation for Diffuse Large B-Cell lymphoma.

  • Dr. Lazarus and colleagues of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) presented data that show that Imatninib (Gleevec) does not change outcomes on patients with Philadelphia Chromosome Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

  • Dr. Lazarus presented an assessment of data over 30 years regarding acute leukemia and its management. He found that all avenues lead to stem cell transplantations. His team provided this assessment of a whole host of entities that provide leukemia care.

  • Dr. Jonathan Kenyon and colleagues found that normal individuals over age 50 begin to show evidence that genetic mutations are accumulating in marrow stem cells. This finding might be the key underlying the increased risk of anemias, myelodysplastic syndrome and acute leukemia in older individuals.

  • Dr. Kevin Bunting¡¦s laboratory gave two important presentations on how intracellular STAT5 (an intracellular signaling protein) influences normal pathologic hematopoiesis (blood cell formation) and stem cell engraftment.

  • Dr. Shigemi Matsuyama and colleagues presented a novel way of treating chemotherapy -induced thrombocytopenia (decrease in number of platelets in the blood) using Bax Inhibiting Peptides to rescue the damaged cells.

  • Dr. Keith McCrae and colleagues presented that ƒÒ2 glycoprotein is a cofactor in the process that dissolves blood clots through the use of the medical agent tPA.

-end-
About University Hospitals

With 150 locations throughout Northeast Ohio, University Hospitals serves the needs of patients through an integrated network of hospitals, outpatient centers and primary care physicians. At the core of our Health System is University Hospitals Case Medical Center. The primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, University Hospitals Case Medical Center is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research centers of excellence in the nation and the world, including cancer, pediatrics, women's health, orthopedics and spine, radiology and radiation oncology, neurosurgery and neuroscience, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, organ transplantation and human genetics. Its main campus includes the internationally celebrated Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, ranked best in the Midwest and first in the nation for the care of critically ill newborns; MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women; and Ireland Cancer Center, which holds the nation's highest designation by the National Cancer Institute of Comprehensive Cancer Center. For more information, go to www.uhhospitals.org.

University Hospitals of Cleveland

Related Stem Cells Articles:

A protein that stem cells require could be a target in killing breast cancer cells
Researchers have identified a protein that must be present in order for mammary stem cells to perform their normal functions.
Approaching a decades-old goal: Making blood stem cells from patients' own cells
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have, for the first time, generated blood-forming stem cells in the lab using pluripotent stem cells, which can make virtually every cell type in the body.
New research finds novel method for generating airway cells from stem cells
Researchers have developed a new approach for growing and studying cells they hope one day will lead to curing lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis through 'personalized medicine.'
Mature heart muscle cells created in the laboratory from stem cells
Generating mature and viable heart muscle cells from human or other animal stem cells has proven difficult for biologists.
Mutations in bone cells can drive leukemia in neighboring stem cells
DNA mutations in bone cells that support blood development can drive leukemia formation in nearby blood stem cells.
More Stem Cells News and Stem Cells Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...