Researchers Use the Ultimate Weapon–Cancer–to Fight Cancer

When it comes to fighting cancer, sometimes it’s best to go at it in a completely new and different way. Researchers at Rogosin Institute were profiled in yesterday’s WSJ for their work using cancer to fight cancer. They took kidney cancer cells from mice and put thousands of them into pea-sized beads, made from a seaweed-derived sugar, then placed them inside cancer patients.

First, the mixture is created to form the tiny beads, then 99  percent of the cells die, leaving only cells similar to cancer stem cells. These stronger cells reproduce, and in a few days excrete a protein. When they put the beads into a cancer patient, these released proteins trick the existing cancer cells into thinking that there are other cancer cells nearby, so the tumor stops growing.

Some of the tumors in animals stopped growing, shrank, or even died. Dogs with prostate cancer survived nearly six months, when their life expectancy was less than 50 days!

Who would have thought to use the deadly power of cancer to trick cancer into stopping its own growth? The trick is in the properties of the more than 700 different proteins called peptides, which the beads secrete. 25-30 of them are known to have anti-tumor effects. Brilliant!