In a study published as a cover story in the July issue of Cancer Biology & Therapy, researchers show that the duration of cancer-free survival might be prolonged by using genetically modified cells for bone marrow transplantation.
Blood cells, including leukocytes, erythrocytes, and platelets, are produced by stem cells contained within the bone marrow. Associate director of translational research for the Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Vivek Rangnekar, and his team explored the possibility of rendering anti-cancer potential to control mice by transferring bone marrow from Par-4/SAC-transgenic donor mice.
A tumor suppressor protein, Par-4 (also known as PAWR) induces selective apoptosis in cancer cells, but not normal cells. The central core domain, SAC, mediates the function of Par-4. Spontaneous and inducible tumors are incapable of growing in SAC-transgenic mice.
An evaluation of cancer-killer SAC-GFP activity in bone marrow cells of the recipient mice following transplantation revealed that the transfer and colonization of anti-cancer tissue from the donor was successful. Furthermore, the growth of metastatic tumors was prevented by soluble Par-4 or SAC protein injected into mice.
The Alfred Cohen Endowed Chair of Oncology Research at Markey, Rangnekar says that treatment for both primary and metastatic tumors looks promising.
Rangnekar said, “We are excited by the findings of this study as they indicate that secreted Par-4 is systemically active in mice. Optimization of the bone marrow transplantation procedure using stem cells that are genetically modified to systemically secrete potent protein payloads of Par-4/SAC killer activity may offer a new approach to treat not only primary tumors but also metastatic tumors of diverse origin.”