Can cell programming cure cancer?
Scientists working at Centro de Regulaci?n Gen?mica (CRG) in Barcelona have managed to reprogram lymphoma and leukemia cells and stop them from being malignant.
Dr. Thomas Graf and his team had previously demonstrated that it is possible to reprogram one type of cell into another by transforming lymphocytes into macrophages, thanks to a transcription factor (C/EBPa). This team has published a new paper in Cell Reports demonstrating the reprogramming of cancerous blood cells into macrophages. The researchers have found that the tumor generating capacity of immunosuppressed mice is drastically reduced by this technique.
Blood cancer treatment using radiotherapy or chemotherapy is not able to fully eliminate the cancer cells and their capacity to generate new tumors. However the discovery and the fine tuning of this methodology permit a new therapeutic approach for treating blood diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma.
We are looking for chemical or pharmaceutical compounds that do the same, not only in vitro, but also in patients, explains Dr. Graf.
– Ramon Fernandez
1) Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 March; 40(5): 1954–1968. Pre-B cell to macrophage transdifferentiation without significant promoter DNA methylation changes.
2) el-elipse. Parc de Recerca Biomedica Barcelona, May 2013