Cancer Cells Avoid Chemotherapy

cancer avoids chemo

Well, surprise surprise, chemotherapy isn’t good for you.  No, not just because it is astronomically expensive, involves hellish symptoms, and is frequently ineffective.  A new study has revealed that cancer cells actually avoid chemotherapy by becoming dormant.

Clever little tumors!  Toronto Scientists believe this is why relapse is so common.

Read the article for more specific information, but here’s a little highlight for what the scientists beleive is happening:

“Dick, whose team grew human colorectal cancers in mice for the research, says only one in every several thousand cells in a tumour can actually drive its growth.

And many of these tumour drivers are susceptible to chemotherapies because most of the drugs now used in cancer treatment target cells that multiply at abnormal speeds — a signature of the disease in all its forms.

But if some of these stem-cell-like cancer drivers are dormant — in effect hiding their ability to rapidly replicate — the drugs will pass them over.

“Some of (the cancer driver cells) are actually quite sensitive (to chemotherapy) and other ones, particularly those ones that come from these so-called dormant cells are much more resistant,” Dick says.

“And that can be responsible for relapse.””

For more information regarding the driving force of cancer and other non-traditional, albeit highly effective ways to stop it, give this article a read.



The Star: Cancer cells hide by going dormant, Princess Margaret study finds

Stem Cells Created Using Urine

stem cells pee

Researchers have discovered and outlined a way to create generations of stem cells using just your mellow yellow. 

Breakthrough after breakthrough has been made regarding stem cells, and this is the newest one.  Using ‘exfoliated renal epithelial cells present in urine,’ researchers have designed a method to create stem cells that is:

“simple (30 ml of urine are sufficient), cost-effective and universal (can be applied to any age, gender and race)… reasonably quick—around 2 weeks for the urinary cell culture and 3–4 weeks for the reprogramming—and the yield of iPSC colonies is generally high—up to 4% using retroviral delivery of exogenous factors.”

As capabilities have expanded and advanced, there are simply no valid arguments left, ethical or logical, against using stem cells. The American Medical Association explains why stem cells are medically important:

For decades, researchers have been studying the biology of stem cells to figure out how development works and to find new ways of treating health problems. Because stem cells can give rise to any tissue found in the body, they provide nearly limitless potential for medical applications.

Save a life, pee in a cup.



Generation of human induced pluripotent stem cells from urine samples

American Medical Association: Basics of Stem Cell Research


Generations of Life Created From Skin Cells


Dr Katsuhiko Hayashi, from Kyoto University, has used stem cells created from skin cells to create eggs. Those eggs were fertilized and gave birth to mice, which in turn, gave birth to more mice.

I recently posted about Johns Hopkins researchers successfully returning blood cells back to their original stem cell state.  Japan has taken the world of stem cells one step further.

First, the researchers turned the skin cells, which were initially reprogrammed into stem cells, into early versions of eggs.The eggs were then surrounded by  reconstituted ovaries and transplanted into female mice.

IVF techniques were used to collect the eggs, fertilize them with sperm from a male mouse and implant the fertilized egg into a surrogate mother.

The mice born from this procedure than had perfectly healthy baby mice of their own whose “grandmother was a cell in a laboratory dish.”

The researchers believe that this process could eventually help infertile couples have children with genetic relation to themselves using just a single skin cell.

Unfortunately Dr. Hayashi warned that:

it is impossible to adapt immediately this system to human stem cells, due to a number of not only scientific reasons, but also ethical reasons.

Researchers are concerned due to a still limited  level of understanding of human egg development as well as the long-term consequences of the health of any child developed using this process.

That being said, Dr Evelyn Telfer, from the University of Edinburgh state that:

If you can show it works in human cells it is like the Holy Grail of reproductive biology.

Professor Robert Norman, from the University of Adelaide, also added that:

For many infertile couples, finding they have no sperm or eggs is a devastating blow. This paper offers light to those who want a child, who is genetically related to them, by using personalized stem cells to create eggs that can produce an offspring that appears to be healthy. It also offers the potential for women to have their own children well past menopause raising even more ethical issues.

The researchers have their eyes on future human application and are very busy and careful in admitting that we still have a long way to go before we can confidently and safely use this procedure in human births, but let’s just recap what we’ve read here: A skin cell gave birth to a fertile, healthy mouse which in turn gave birth to another fertile, healthy mouse ad infinitum.  That, in and of itself, is a remarkable feat.

Just imagine the conversations we will be having in the future:

“Dad, can you tell us about Grandma again?”
“Not much to tell son, your grandmother was a spleen cell, but she loved you with all her… well, she just loved you.”



Researchers Turn Blood Cells Back into Stem Cells


Johns Hopkins researchers have successfully returned blood cells back to their original stem cell state.  The researchers have managed to created a “super efficient, virus-free way to make iPS cells, overcoming a persistent difficulty for scientists working with these cells in the laboratory. Generally, out of hundreds of blood cells, only one or two might turn into iPS cells. Using Zambidis’ method, 50 to 60 percent of blood cells were engineered into iPS cells.”

Stem cells can be turned into any other type of cell in the body.  They have traditionally been a very controversial issue as they can normally only be harvested in reasonable quantities from fetuses or umbilical cords.

Not anymore.