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Scientists Treating Cancer with Cancer Cells

Microscopic image of cancer cells. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Scientists are taking a new approach in the fight against cancer by treating the disease with cancer itself.

Researchers at the Rogosin Institute in New York are encapsulating cancer cells from mice to form macrobeads which are then implanted into the abdomen of cancer patients.  Once implanted, the macrobeads can secrete substances that could tell cancer cells to stop growing or slow down their growth.

The study, which will be published Tuesday in the journal Cancer Research, has showed improvements in tests involving mice, dogs, and cats.  As reported in The Wall Street Journal, after 30 days, mice who were implanted with tumors and treated with the beads had tumors that were 30 to 60 percent smaller than those in mice which were left untreated.

Another study involving 54 dogs and cats who had naturally-occurring cancers found that when treated with beads, their life expectancies were elongated and, in some cases, their tumors were almost eliminated.

An intial human study involving at least 30 patients has been conducted, and an intermediate-stage trial has been launched with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval, the Journal reported.  It is still too early to tell how well the beads will work in humans.

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