UC San Francisco researcher discovers radiation-resistant stem cells in mice

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |

UC San Francisco department of orthopedic surgery researcher Annarita Scaramozza, PhD, has made a discovery that could boost recovery from radiation therapy for cancer treatment with 'super hero' stem cells.


Radiation therapy for cancer treatment typically eliminates the stem cells charged with regrowing muscles after a traumatic event. However, in her study, Dr. Scaramozza found mice had reserve stem cells that appeared after the treatment that were resistant to radiation and cellular stress.

The stem cells were normally inactive but sprang into gear when radiation destroyed the mice's initial stem cells. The reserve stem cells also took over when environmental toxins found in plastics damaged the initial regular stem cells. In conjunction with members of the laboratory of Andrew Brack, PhD, Dr. Scaramozza was able to make regular stem cells radiation-resistant through anti-oxidizing agents.

Future study could examine the potential and limitations of the radiation-resistant stem cells.

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