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Stem cells may become cancer vaccine
by Staff Writers
Storrs, Conn. (UPI) Oct 8, 2009

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

U.S. and Chinese scientists say they've discovered human stem cells hold the potential to vaccinate the body against colon cancer.

The research, led by Associate Professor Zihai Li and Bei Liu, builds upon a century-old theory that immunizing with embryonic materials may generate an anti-tumor response.

But the scientists say their finding advances the theory beyond animal research so the discovery that human stem cells are able to immunize against colon cancer is both new and unexpected.

"This finding potentially opens up a new paradigm for cancer vaccine research," said Li. "Cancer and stem cells share many molecular and biological features. By immunizing the host with stem cells, we are able to 'fool' the immune system to believe that cancer cells are present and thus to initiate a tumor-combating immune program."

The scientists said their study is the first of its kind to implicate the role of human stem cells in vaccinating against colon cancer.

The research that included Associate Professor Renhe Xu appears in the journal Stem Cells.


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