Thanks to an MMA list member (thanks!), I read this January 9 press release from the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center (http://tinyurl.com/3avj8s), which confirms what we have been suspecting for a while now, that is, until we get rid of the myeloma STEM cells we won’t get rid of myeloma. I have always thought of myeloma as a sort of big bothersome (to say the least!) weed. We can cut off parts of it, but it will always grow back. That is, until we pull it up by its roots, i.e., the cancerous stem cells.
Read here: “Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center say they have evidence that cancer stem cells for multiple myeloma share many properties with normal stem cells and have multiple ways of resisting chemotherapy and other treatments.” I will try to get my hands on the full study in the next couple of days. This should be a fascinating read.
The researchers transplanted stem cells from four myeloma patients into a bunch of mice that, poor dears, developed myeloma. But when they transplanted plasma cells into mice, they were not able to recreate the cancer. So the stem cells are the culprit, it would seem.
Another finding was that myeloma stem cells were not affected in the least by chemotherapy, which did instead inhibit the growth of myeloma plasma cells. The researchers may also have discovered what makes myeloma stem cells resistant to treatment. How about that? This is mind-boggling. I must write an e-mail to my study suppliers straight away!