Rapid Selection and Proliferation of CD133(+) Cells from Cancer Cell Lines: Chemotherapeutic Implications

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Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are considered a subset of the bulk tumor responsible for initiating and maintaining the disease. Several surface cellular markers have been recently used to identify CSCs. Among those is CD133, which is expressed by hematopoietic progenitor cells as well as embryonic stem cells and various cancers. We have recently isolated and cultured CD133 positive [CD133(+)] cells from various cancer cell lines using a NASA developed Hydrodynamic Focusing Bioreactor (HFB) (Celdyne, Houston, TX). For comparison, another bioreactor, the rotary cell culture system (RCCS) manufactured by Synthecon (Houston, TX) was used. Both the HFB and the RCCS bioreactors simulate aspects of hypogravity. In our study, the HFB increased CD133(+) cell growth from various cell lines compared to the RCCS vessel and to normal gravity control. We observed a (+)15-fold proliferation of the CD133(+) cellular fraction with cancer cells that were cultured for 7-days at optimized conditions. The RCCS vessel instead yielded a (−)4.8-fold decrease in the CD133(+)cellular fraction respect to the HFB after 7-days of culture. Interestingly, we also found that the hypogravity environment of the HFB greatly sensitized the CD133(+) cancer cells, which are normally resistant to chemo treatment, to become susceptible to various chemotherapeutic agents, paving the way to less toxic and more effective chemotherapeutic treatment in patients. To be able to test the efficacy of cytotoxic agents in vitro prior to their use in clinical setting on cancer cells as well as on cancer stem cells may pave the way to more effective chemotherapeutic strategies in patients. This could be an important advancement in the therapeutic options of oncologic patients, allowing for more targeted and personalized chemotherapy regimens as well as for higher response rates.


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