Dr. Wafik S. El-Deiry, Professor and Chief of the hematology/Oncology Division at the Penn State Heershey Medical Center has published research that shows that bone marrow-derived cells (BMDCs) can participate in the growth and spread of tumors in the breast, brain, lung, and stomach. The researchers used a mouse model to track the migration of the BMDC cells while tumors were growing. Their results showed that the bone marrow cells retarded the tumor’s growth.
To do the experiment, the researchers divided mice into two groups: the first group expressing a fluorescence gene served as donors of the BMDC’s. The Second group of mice, whose marrow was destroyed because of radiation were injected with the first group’s fluorescent bone marrow. The BMDC’s were allowed to grow fro 8 weeks. After those 8 weeks. Colon cancer cells were injected into all the mice and tumors formed. The scientists monitored tumor growth and noticed that the tumors contained BMDCs. They also noticed that the tumors were much smaller in the mice with bone marrow transplants.
The researchers say cancer is a more complex disease than previously thought: it is increasingly clear that there are many cellular interactions occurring in the malignant tissue. El-Deiry said this new method could lead to additional treatments that can help victims overcome cancer.