Ovarian cancer and stemcells – Reserch


Stem cells are all the rage in medicine today, with doctors running to-and-fro to perform research in this budding medical field and to present their findings first. And another hot topic is, as ever, cancer, the one disease that nobody seems to be able to dodge. And it should be hard to dodge, if Cancer Research’s figures are anything to go by.

According to Cancer Research, men have a cumulated lifetime risk of developing some form of cancer of 46.32%, so nearly half the male population of the UK could suffer from it if the odds were against them. Women, on the other hand, face a slightly smaller risk of only 41.18% of developing some form of cancer which affects any of the 18 possible cancer sites.

The most threatening forms of cancer are prostate and breast cancer, which can claim one in eight people. Next in line for women are bowel, lung, uterus and ovary cancer for women, and bowel, lung and bladder cancer for men. When it comes to ovary cancer, one in 51 women can expect to be diagnosed with this condition, but chances are it will be after the age of 64.

Various studies have been done to explain the possible causes of ovarian cancer, but most importantly, recurrences of the ovarian cancer after chemotherapy. According to Medical News Today, one Cornell University study reveals that the stem cells in the ovarian hilum which repair the tissue ruptures occuring during ovulation, can easily transform into tumour cells. Another study suggests that a mix of factors cause the resilience of these tumours. According to Yale University’s ‘cancer stem cell’ theory, ordinary therapy kills most of the tumour, but cancer stem cells thrive in the resulting environment. This comes to reinforce the findings of a university in Hong Kong whose results were published on Hindawi a few months earlier. Following the upheaval, a pharmaceutical company called Novogen announced positive test results for a drug which can annihilate these cancer stem cells.

Treating ovarian cancer typically involves surgery and radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Transplanting stem cells into the bone marrow to help post-surgery recovery has been investigated and Blue Cross Idaho revealed that the results of its research have been unfavourable. However, an innovative treatment for ovarian cancer is currently under investigation. The John Theurer Cancer Centre performs over 200 stem cell transplants. M.D. Michele L. Donato is performing a number of clinical trials to evaluate the use of stem cells in treating ovarian cancer. In addition to transplantation, photopheresis, using ultraviolet light to help treat GHVD, or graft-versus-host disease which is a complication of the transplantation triggered by self-defence responses in the graft tissue. Stem cell therapy could be made possible due to companies like Biolamina, which offer cutting edge stem cell culturing technology.

In conclusion, foreign, healthy stem cells could help cure a disease caused by inherent cancer stem cells. Isn’t it ironic that the solution could have been right under our noses all this time?