Friday, November 7, 2008

Brain Cancer: Could Adult Stem Cells Be the Cause—and the Cure?

It was national news when Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts was diagnosed with brain cancer last May. Then, just weeks later, veteran political columnist Robert Novak also was found to have a malignant brain tumor. Suddenly, the public was awash in a flood of stories about this deadly form of cancer. The fresh focus on this disease comes at a critical time, as scientists explore a new theory that could unlock the mystery of brain cancer—and other cancers as well.

Paradoxically, adult stem cells may be both the cause of cancer and a cure for it. That theory, barely discussed even five years ago, has captivated the country’s leading researchers, including Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, M.D., a 40-year-old one-time farm worker from Mexico who now heads the Brain Tumor Center at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore.

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