SACRAMENTO (TIP): A recentstudy led by an Indian Americanresearcher Bikul Das, at theStanford University School ofMedicine proved that in times ofstress certain human embryonicstem cells produce molecules thatbenefit themselves along with thehelping the nearby cells to survive.”Altruism has been reportedamong bacterial populations andamong humans and other animals,like monkeys and elephants,” saidStanford postdoctoral scholar BikulDas, MBBS, PhD. “But inmammalian cells – at the cellularlevel – the idea of altruism has neverbeen described before.”
Das has recently published aresearch paper documentingaltruistic behavior by humanembryonic stem cells, in aprominent international magazine’Stem Cells’.”Altruism in cells can mean it willbe possible to treat cancer withoutchemotherapy. In future, altruisticstem cells may be cultured andinjected into cancerous tissue fortreatment”, said Dr Chandan J Das,assistant professor in the radiodiagnosisdepartment at AIIMS,Delhi, about the study.
Dr Purna Kurkure, seniorpediatric oncologist at TataMemorial Hospital says “thisresearch will have a bearing on notjust cancer research but in theoverall understanding of the repairand regeneration mechanism of thehuman body. Altruism has beenobserved in bacteria, which is whybacteria are great survivors. So far,we haven’t been able to beat cancerbecause there is a lack of completeunderstanding about it.Chemotherapy only targets the endcells, not the root. This research is,therefore, a major leap in the battleagainst cancer”, reports Times ofIndia.Das has been congratulated by UKscientist Dr Peter W Andrews, one ofthe two gurus of embryonic stemcell research, for his findings.