July 16, 2008
Kansas State University researchers are developing a method to use umbilical cord cells to deliver cancer-fighting drugs directly to tumors. Dr. Deryl Troyer and colleagues note that these umbilical cord stem cells have a natural homing ability to areas of tissue damage, including tumors. "We are using the cells as stealth vehicles," Troyer said. Their project involves loading the stem cells with nanoparticles containing the anti-cancer drugs, and letting the cells home in on tumors, where they would release their cargo.
The project, a part of Kansas State's Midwest Institute for Comparative Stem Cell Biology, uses a type of adult stem cell that is not from cord blood, but is instead from the solid part of the umbilical cord, known as Wharton's jelly. These adult stem cells have the ability to form various cell types of the body, including neuronal cells, and have already shown the ability in animal models to ameliorate symptoms of Parkinson's diease.
There's more than wheat and wind on the plains of Kansas.