UCLA scientists have found a link between a protein and the power of human blood stem cells to self-renew. In research published at present within the journal Nature, the group reviews that activating the protein causes blood stem cells to self-renew no less than twelvefold in laboratory conditions.
Multiplying blood stem cells in situations exterior the human physique may greatly enhance treatment choices for blood cancers like leukemia and for a lot of inherited blood diseases.
Dr. Hanna Mikkola, a member of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA and senior writer of the examine, has studied blood stem cells for greater than 20 years. Blood stem cells are also called hematopoietic stem cells, which are discovered within the bone marrow, the place they self-renew in addition to differentiating to create all varieties of blood cells.
Bone marrow transplants have been used over for many years to deal with individuals with some diseases of the blood or immune system. Nonetheless, bone marrow transplants have significant limitations: Finding a suitable bone marrow donor will not be all the time attainable, the affected person’s immune system could reject the foreign cells, and the variety of transplanted stem cells is probably not sufficient to efficiently deal with the disease.
The next steps for the researchers include figuring out what proteins and elements inside blood stem cell DNA affect the on-off switch for MLLT3, and the way this could possibly be managed using substances within the lab dishes. With that data, they might potentially discover methods to switch MLLT3 on and off without the usage of a viral vector, which might be safer to be used in a clinical setting.