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In order to identify why stem cell therapies result in metastatic tumors, researchers from the Medical University of Vienna analyzed the effect IPSC’s had on the invasiveness of neighboring fibroblasts. Using a transwell invasion assay, the results showed that stem cells have secretomes capable of turning on somatic cell invasion.
Specifically, the IPSC secretome activated IGF and mTORC1 in neighboring somatic cells. In the presence of matrix metalloproteinases, this signaling cascade also induced the invasion pathway normally used during tissue repair and development, leading to a teratoma. By inhibiting this pathway, researchers significantly reduced the size of stem cell induced teratomas, and gave hope that stem therapy could eventually be performed without fear of tumor formation.