Despite the precautions taken in treating pelvic cancers with radiation therapy, some patients develop severe, incapacitating and irreversible gastrointestinal complications, which until now had to be treated surgically. Finding new treatment strategies using cell therapy – as an alternative to or in combination with surgery – is the aim of the ANTHOS project launched by IRSN.
The purpose of the three-year ANTHOS applied research program, launched in February, is to test the combination of local injections of healing stem cells from bone marrow with a hydrogel loaded with molecules that can extend their lifetime, thereby maintaining their therapeutic effect.
The ANTHOS program is led by IRSN in partnership with university research units and specialized companies, with backing from the French National Agency for Research (ANR).
If the program proves conclusive, as corroborated by clinical trials, major surgery could be avoided for patients who develop severe gastrointestinal complications. Or, when such surgery is recommended, the new treatment would improve the healing process in tissue affected by the operation.