The Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2011
In an audacious twist on the concept of fighting fire with fire, scientists have developed a provocative strategy of fighting cancer with cancer. Researchers at the Rogosin Institute are taking tumor cells from mice, encapsulating them in beads made from a seaweed-derived sugar called agarose, and implanting them in the abdomen of cancer patients. There, cells in the beads secrete proteins researchers believe could signal a patient's cancer to stop growing, shrink or even die. So far, at least 30 patients have been treated with the cancer beads in an initial human study, and a phase two or intermediate-stage trial has been launched—with the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration—to test the technique in patients with advanced colon, pancreatic and prostate cancers.