Tuesday, June 30, 2015

California's Stem Cell Program, Brain Cancer and the City of Hope

The City of Hope said yesterday that it has treated the first brain tumor patient at its state-financed Alpha stem cell clinic, part of an ambitious program aimed at creating four one-stop stem cell treatment centers in California.

The City of Hope announced that the unidentified patient was involved in a clinical trial using genetically modified neural stem cells to help deliver chemotherapy to brain cancer cells.

“The aim of this neural stem cell research is to develop a treatment that is more potent and less toxic than existing treatments for brain tumors.” 
 The Alpha Clinic program was created last October by the $3 billion California stem cell agency. It awarded $24 million for clinics involving UCLA, UC San Diego and UC Irvine in addition to the City of Hope, which is located in Duarte in the Los Angeles area.

Karen Aboody, co-leader of the Developmental Cancer Therapeutics Program at City of Hope, said,
Karen Aboody, City of Hope photo
  “Rather than putting chemotherapy through the whole body and possibly causing significant side effects that affect quality of life, the neural stem cells produce active chemotherapy only at the sites of the tumor, killing surrounding cancer cells.”
Maria Millan, who oversees the Alpha program for the stem cell agency, said,
 “This work does more than help just one person. Because they are part of the Alpha Clinics Network, City of Hope is demonstrating how by working together, providing collective expertise, efficiencies and critical resources, we can help accelerate the development of stem cell treatments for patients with unmet medical needs.”
 The City of Hope study now has several patients and is looking for more.­­­­­
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