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Trojan Horse Method Allows Stem Cells to Eradicate  Multiple Myeloma 


The pharmaceutical and biological research industries have long relied on animal models to test drug toxicity and efficacy.  Until recently, reliable alternatives to animal testing were not available. Rats, mice, pigs, rabbits and of course guinea pigs (and others) have provided the closest somatic archetype to humans. These creatures, which we know possess a central nervous system, capable of conducting pain signals to the brain have been exposed to all manners of drugs, chemicals, devices and cosmetics in effort to advance the human condition. There is no doubt that this testing has produced most of the medical advancement we have made as a civilization, but as we learn more, such as the ability of certain animals to feel compassion, there is a pressing need to radically reduce and ultimately eliminate animal testing.

Over the last 20 years, a shift from conducting research in simple petri dishes, where cells grow in 2D, has brought about to the inception of intricate tissue engineering studies, producing a revolution in 3D cell culture. The limitations of 2D human cell cultures are being overcome by research groups utilizing techniques to model human and animal tissue without sacrificing animals.

A group from The University of Milan has used one of these novel methods, Rotary Cell Culture, to achieve eradication of multiple myeloma cancer cells. Using a targeted approach with the potent cancer drug, paclitaxel, they employed this 3D method to culture, target and destroy cancer cells without animal models.

This breakthrough method allowed the researchers to use bone marrow derived MSCs (mesenchymal stem cells), loaded with the potent cancer killing drug, paclitaxel, to target and destroy the multiple myeloma cell line (RPMI 8226) in culture. The dynamic nature of the 3D culture system provided the ability to test the Paclitaxel-loaded MSCs directly on the tumor cells. There is much to look forward to in this area as this model represents a more relevant, humane and effective model for testing.

If you would like to discuss this further, or if you have a specific application in mind, contact me, kirsten@synthecon.com
 
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