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Do stem cells have an apoptosis mechanism and , if they do could this be used to repair the cell self-destruction pathways in a cancer cell?

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No but they can be used as part of a gene therapy to induce cellular death in cancer.

TRAIL-secreting mesenchymal stem cells promote apoptosis in heat-shock-treated liver cancer cells and inhibit tumor growth in nude mice

Liver cancer is one of the top six leading causes of cancer-related death. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is an important means of treating liver cancer. Residual cancer after RFA is the most frequent cause of recurrence in cases of liver cancer. The main difference between residual cancer cells and ordinary liver cancer cells is that residual cancer cells experience heat shock. The secretable form of trimeric human tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (stTRAIL) induces apoptosis in a variety of human cancers but not in normal tissues. It has shown potent cancer-selective killing activity and has drawn considerable attention as a possible cancer therapy. In the present work, the therapeutic potential of this stTRAIL-based gene therapy was evaluated in hepatocellular carcinoma subjected to RFA. Rat bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) were isolated and transduced with a lentiviral vector encoding stTRAIL (stTRAIL-MSCs, T-MSCs). Cells treated with heat treatment at 43 °C for 45 min served as simulated residual cancer cells. After treatment with T-MSCs, apoptosis in heat-shock-treated liver cancer cells increased significantly, and caspase-3 was upregulated. When T-MSCs were subcutaneously injected into nude mice, they localized to the tumors and inhibited tumor growth, significantly increasing survival. Collectively, the results of the present study indicate that BM-MSC can provide a steady source of stTRAIL and may be suitable for use in the prevention of the recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma after RFA with secretable trimeric TRAIL.

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If cancer cells are susceptible to heat-shock but normal cells are not ( if I'm correct) does this mean cancer cells exist on the 'fringe' of cellular stability? If a certain disease or virus attacked liver cells would it affect any cancerous liver cells first? –  user128932 Apr 29 '14 at 6:20
@user128932 yes cancer cells before they are exposed and adapt to treatments are very unstable. Chemotherapy exploits this. –  caseyr547 Apr 29 '14 at 14:49
If one used beams of microwaves that intersect at a point where a tumor is so the intersection point is very hot yet all the other part of the beams that don't intersect are not hot ; could this destabilize the tumor without hurting surrounding cells ? –  user128932 Apr 30 '14 at 8:03
@user128932 i'm sorry i dont know...i'm not really a fan of any radiation as a treatment and haven't studied it my focus is chems. –  caseyr547 Apr 30 '14 at 10:47
The point of narrow beams of microwaves that intersect at a tumor would be to reduce non-tumor cell death and decrease side effects. –  user128932 Jul 13 '14 at 6:08

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