Stem Cells Made into Tumor Killers

YOKOHAMA, Japan, June 2 (UPI) — Japanese scientists say they have created a way to produce natural killer T cells, known for suppressing tumor growth, by using pluripotent stem cells.

Developed by researchers at the Riken Research Center for Allergy and Immunology, the technique is said to open the door for effective new cell-targeted cancer treatments.

Although T cells play an essential role in innate immune responses by protecting against tumors and virus-infected cells, the researchers said most cancer patients have very few T cells, which has prevented the wider application of the therapy.

But the Riken scientists said induced pluripotent stem cells capable of differentiating into any type of cell present a potential solution to the problem.

The research is reported in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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