July 2, 2008

Cancer ‘Cure’ in Mice Tested in Humans

Scientists at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center say they are beginning a human cancer trial to test transfusing specific white blood cells.

Lead researcher Zheng Cui announced the study at the Understanding Aging conference in Los Angeles. The study, given the go-ahead by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will involve treating human cancer patients with white blood cells from healthy young people whose immune systems produce cells with high levels of cancer-fighting activity.

The basis of the study is the scientists' discovery, published five years ago, of a cancer-resistant mouse and their subsequent finding that white blood cells from that mouse and its offspring cured advanced cancers in ordinary laboratory mice. They have since identified similar cancer-killing activity in the white blood cells of some healthy humans.

In mice, we've been able to eradicate even highly aggressive forms of malignancy with extremely large tumors, Cui said in a statement. Hopefully, we will see the same results in humans. Our laboratory studies indicate that this cancer-fighting ability is even stronger in healthy humans.