Cancer remains on top as one of the leading causes of death today. This is despite the great progress we have made in understanding the disease up to its molecular level, the progress in detecting cancer, and its treatment.
There is no cure to this day for cancer but there is a promise in therapies. One of them is stem cell cancer therapy. This stem cell-based treatment has raised hopes for a possible cure for cancer. The research on stem cells during the past decades has provided significant information on the development, morphology, maintenance, and regeneration.
In this article, we are going to look at Thailand stem cell cancer therapy and the recent progress made on this treatment.
Stem Cell Therapy for Cancer
One promising treatment for certain kinds of cancer is stem cell therapy. This treatment hinges on the ability of stem cells to regenerate original body tissues and their ability to deliver potent drugs and their immune modulation capability.
With this understanding of stem cells, scientists can formulate different strategies for combating cancer. One example is modifying stem cells to express anti-cancer effector proteins that would limit the blood supply to the cancer cells and create a non-supportive environment for the tumor.
Another strategy is the modification of the stem cells to show tumor-tropic properties. It will then stimulate the body’s immune response to fight cancer.
There is also an interesting strategy that aims to achieve cancer cell death through genetic engineering of stem cells to express a specific enzyme that would convert the inactive forms of the anti-cancer drug into active forms at the site of the tumor.
Stem cell transplantation is a kind of post-cancer treatment that helps to restore the stem cells that trigger blood formation in patients. The therapy helps the patient who had their stem cell forming blood destroyed during chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Types of Cancer That Benefits from Stem Cell Therapy
The stem cell therapy used for treating cancer helps treat patients with certain types of cancers including lymphoma and leukemia. There is also great potential in using this treatment to help treat neuroblastoma and multiple myeloma.
One reason why stem cell therapy can help patients with cancer is not in fighting cancer. Although in some cases, it can, it is still under study. In stem cell cancer therapy, the patient still receives high doses of chemotherapy or radiotherapy as these two work in getting rid of cancer.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are effective because they attack the cells that rapidly divide. In cancer, the cancerous cells divide faster than the healthy cells. Our bone marrow cells divide quickly and therefore, both chemo and radiotherapy can target and destroy the bone marrow of cancer patients.
With the bone marrow destroyed, the cancer patients become immunocompromised and they will not be able to fight even the simplest form of infection. They will not also be able to produce red blood cells that our body needs to transport oxygen to the parts of the body. It will also compromise the blood’s clotting ability.
Only patients who have received high doses of chemo or radiotherapy can have a stem cell transplantation to replenish the lost blood cells. And this is usually done once the patient is in remission.
Different Types of Stem Cell Transplant
Two common forms of stem cell therapy can help cancer patients. They are bone marrow transplant (BMT) and peripheral blood stem cell transplant (PBSCT). In BMT, the patient gets their stem cells from their bone marrow. In PBSCT, healthy stem cells are from their blood or a donor.
After transplantation, the healthy blood-forming stem cells will divide to create more blood-forming cells, which in turn will mature into the three important blood cells that our body needs – red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
The Stem Cell Theory of Cancer
The stem cell theory proposes that cancer cells are not the same. Whether it is in a malignant tumor or within the circulating cancerous cells of leukemia, you will find different types of cells. The theory proposes that among all these cells are stems which reproduce by themselves and sustain cancer. It behaves in a way that a normal cell would in sustaining the tissues and organs. As such, the regular cancer cells, not the stem cells, can cause the disease but they will not be able to sustain the attack on the body over time.
This premise that cancer is primarily driven by a small population of stem cells is important for the development of a cure for cancer. For finding the cure for cancer, the direction is to shrink the tumor. But if the treatment will not be able to kill the stem cells, the tumor can grow back and often with resistance to the previously used therapy.
The stem cell cancer theory can also imply the understanding of metastases in cancer, where the cancer cells travel to other parts of the body. It can also act as the reservoir of cancer cells causing relapse even after surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.
Stem cell cancer therapy is showing a lot of promise in helping patients with cancer. There is still a lot to learn about cancer but with many studies conducted on how stem cells and normal cells, we can use what we know to formulate an approach to treating cancers.