First treatment in the Netherlands: Cancer patient treated with stem cells from own salivary gland
The University Medical Center (UMC) in Groningen treated a 43-year-old man with a tongue tumor with stem cells from his own salivary gland this week. According to the UMC Groningen, it is the first hospital in the Netherlands to perform this treatment.
The stem cells from his glands were grown and then returned by injection, explained Groningen Professor of Radiotherapy Rob Coppes. The treatment should ensure that the salivary glands will soon work again and the man will no longer suffer from a dry mouth.
According to the hospital, every year about 2,500 people in the Netherlands get cancer in the head and neck area. A large proportion have a good chance of recovery with radiation, but in 40 percent of them the salivary glands no longer work properly after treatment.
As a result, they suffer from dry mouth and dental damage, have difficulty chewing and swallowing, as well as speaking.
Professor Coppes has been researching salivary gland stem cell transplantation for years. Early next year, a few more patients will be treated with it. "We then hope to be able to determine later next year whether the treatment is successful with the patients."
The Dutch Cancer Society KWF Kankerbestrijding, which has largely funded this project through its donors, said it is very proud of this new development.
"Fortunately, more and more people are surviving cancer, but we see and hear that many people still have symptoms and find it difficult to pick up life after the disease. This new treatment can ensure that head and neck cancer patients who have been irradiated have a much better quality of life. We therefore hope that this study can show that the treatment works and that it will be available to all patients in a few years," the organization stated in a comment.
Reporting by ANP