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Scientists from Harvard Medical School have discovered a way of turning stem cells into killing machines to fight brain cancer.

In experiments on mice, the stem cells were genetically engineered to produce and secrete toxins which kill brain tumours, without killing normal cells or themselves.

Researchers said the next stage was to test the procedure in humans.

A stem cell expert said this was "the future" of cancer treatment.

The study, published in the journal Stem Cells, was the work of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

Modified Poliovirus used as therapy for glioblastoma 

The 5 May 2014 issue of People magazine features Stephanie Lipscomb, the first patient in the world to undergo an investigational therapy. At Duke's Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, a modified poliovirus was injected into Stephanie's brain to combat aggressive brain cancer. Two years after undergoing the procedure, Stephanie is doing great.

Stephanie was only 20 when she was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor called a glioblastoma multiforme. Given only a few months to live, Stephanie underwent surgery to remove the tumor, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. It returned within two years.

Brain surgery with sound shows a lot of promise  

It's hard to imagine a surgery more daunting than removing a brain tumor.

But in what could be a revolutionary procedure, Seattle doctors just performed brain surgery with no knives.  And the patient was wide awake the entire time.