Japanese scientists created a "large number" of cells able to attack cancer and HIV, - they say - could eventually be used to combat these diseases in the laboratory.
It is a type of cells of the immune system that are produced naturally in the body but in small numbers, called T cells cytotoxic.
Create from blood stem cells
Nobel Prize in medicine to stem cell research
They confirmed the existence of cancer stem cells
And researchers - who published the study in the journal Cell Stem Cell - hope that the power of the immune system by injecting large quantities of these cells to the patient they can recharge.
Experts say that the find has a "potential stimulating", but any therapy will first have to prove that it is safe in humans.
Dr. Hiroshi Kawamoto and his team at the University of Tokyo, along with researchers at the Riken Research Center for allergy and Immunology, used advances in the development of stem cell technology to produce T cells cytotoxic.
These cells are a cell type of white blood cell, lymphocyte, which can recognize the markers indicating the presence of infection or cancer on the surfaces of cells. When it recognizes one of these markers launches an attack of the immune system.
To study a group of researchers extracted T cells that had attacked a skin cancer on a patient. Another group removed T cells that had attacked a HIV virus.
Subsequently they became these T cells into stem cells, which can dramatically increase your levels when grown in the lab.
And these again were converted into T-cells, which should also have the ability to fight cancer or HIV.
Do new weapon?
"The next step is to check if these T cells can selectively kill tumor cells and not other cells in the body. If they can do it, they could be injected directly to patients for treatment. And this could be achieved in the not-too-distant future"
Dr. Hiroshi Kawamoto
So far the researchers proved that they can produce these cells but does not know if it is safe to inject them into the patient or if they can actually fight disease once they enter the body.
Dr. Kawamoto, who worked in the Group of cancer cells, says that "the next step is to check if these T cells can selectively kill tumor cells and not other cells in the body.
"If they can do it, these cells could be injected directly to patients for treatment. And this could be achieved in the not-too-distant future,"says the researcher.
"For his part, Dr. Hiromitsu Nakauchi, University of Tokyo, says that"it is not clear"If this technique can help in the treatment of HIV and other infections and therefore the best aim to start is cancer".
Experts in this field of research say that the finding is very encouraging.
Professor Alan Clarke, director of the Institute European of cells mother of Cancer Research at the University of Cardiff, Wales, said: "this is a development potentially very stimulant that extends our ability to develop new cell therapies".
It adds that it is important that the cells are "tailored" for each patient so that there is no risk of rejection.
The advance was also tried to attack HIV.
Other experts stress that the finding is still in its early stages, but it is very promising and represents a firm basis for future research.
For its part the Organization Cancer Research UK, says that it is still too early to determine if a therapy is safe.
Professor John Burn, Institute of genetic medicine of the University of Newcastle, England, expressed: "this is a very interesting concept and the research team must be congratulated by have demonstrated the feasibility of expanding these T cells".
But the scientist adds that "even if these T cells are effective, will be a great challenge achieve produce large quantities safely and economically affordable way".
"However, is really promising that this may become an alternative where conventional therapies have failed," complete Burn.