Colon CancerColon cancer includes cancerous growths in the colon, rectum and appendix. A research, relevant to colon cancer, claims that researchers from the United States and China have exposed the possibility of human stem cells to provide vaccination against the cancer.

The research is claimed to be first of its kind to associate the function of human stem cells in vaccinating against colon cancer.

This research was led by experts in immunology, Dr. Bei Liu and Dr. Zihai Li. This research is based on a very old theory that immunizing with embryonic materials may produce an anti-tumor response. Nevertheless, this hypothesis has apparently never before progressed further than animal research so the finding that human stem cells are supposedly able to vaccinate against colon cancer is both novel and unforeseen.

The research is claimed to be the first of its kind and signifies a partnership between the prominent laboratories of Dr. Zihai Li and stem cell expert Dr. Renhe Xu at the University of Connecticut Stem Cell Institute.

Dr. Zihai Li commented, “This finding potentially opens up a new paradigm for cancer vaccine research. Cancer and stem cells share many molecular and biological features. By immunizing the host with stem cells, we are able to ‘fool’ the immune system to believe that cancer cells are present and thus to initiate a tumor-combating immune program.”

The team vaccinated laboratory mice with human embryonic stem (hES) cells and found a reliable immune response against colon cancer cells. The team apparently observed a drastic reduction in tumor growth in the immunized mice. This exposed that immunized mice could produce a powerful anti-tumor reaction through the application of hES cells.

The team also found that while ordinary embryonic stem cells are able to give a reaction, unnaturally stimulated pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) are unable to provide a response. This is important as it confronts the hypothesis that iPSC are the same as hES cells and may restore them in the front of stem cell research.

Dr. Bei Liu mentioned that although they have only tested the protection against colon cancer, they believe that stem cells might be useful for generating an immune response against a broad-spectrum of cancers, thus serving as a universal cancer vaccine

This research was published in STEM CELLS.