Cancer

Aggressive breast cancer treated with bone marrow stem cells

Last week brought a paper by Stanford researchers that has been a long, long time coming. It shows that 12-14 years after the experimental treatment, women with metastatic breast cancer benefited from high dose chemotherapy followed by transplantation of their own blood-forming stem cells. The paper was published online July 15 in Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

Celebrating National Cancer Research Month with a cancer stem cell round-up

In celebration of National Cancer Research Month, our colleagues at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute have posted a series of blog entries about cancer research at their institute. The latest installment includes CIRM grantee Robert Wechsler-Reya, who moved to California from Duke University on a CIRM Research Leadership Award.

According to their blog:

Shifting the balance of stem cell renewal and cancer

There's an interesting story from CIRM grantees at Sanford-Burnham this week, showing a relationship between tissue-specific stem cells in the body and cancer. It all started with an observation in people with Down Syndrome: they are less likely than other people to develop cancers.

Protein Linked to Normal Prostate Stem Cells and to Cancer

When I was the editor of a national magazine for physicians, I told my writers to do any story they found on prostate issues, with our overwhelming male audience then, I knew those stories would get high readership scores. My readers back then would have loved today's news out of UCLA. The team there, led by CIRM grantee Owen Witte, found that the inhibition of a certain protein slowed the growth of an aggressive form of prostate cancer in animal models.

Knocking out leukemia stem cells

A good report about bone marrow transplantation in progress comes from the National Hockey League, of all places. Mandi Schwartz, a Yale women's hockey player, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and is being treated at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

In the name of full disclosure, that's the center that cured my mother's lymphoma, so let's just say I'm a fan.

Basic research and the search for cures

Two interesting reports today discuss the relationship between basic research and the kind of translational research that is the most visible sign of progress toward cures.

In his blog, the director of the bay area biotech collaborative QB3 Regis Kelly writes about public speakers at the Translational Medicine Alliance speaking out against basic research. He says:

Hope for CIRM leukemia disease team

The clock is ticking on the 14 CIRM Disease Team projects issued last October, which are working under a four-year deadline to hit the clinic. The $20 million acute myeloid leukemia project headed up by Irv Weissman of Stanford University just reported some promising progress.

Resting stem cells are cancer-prone

CIRM grantees at University of California, San Francisco, have published a Cell Stem Cell paper explaining why blood-forming stem cells accumulate cancer-causing mutations with age. Basically, they found that inactivity is genetically risky for the cells.

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