DEC 02, 2019 5:41 PM PST

Self-renewing blood stem cells give hope for blood disease treatments

New research details how activating a certain protein may be the key to getting hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to self-renew. The research comes from scientists at UCLA and was published recently in Nature. Its findings may open doorways for leukemia treatment, as well as other blood diseases.

HSCs are blood stem cells found in the bone marrow that make blood by differentiating into cells like red blood cells, T and B lymphocytes, and white blood cells. HSCs play an infinitely important role in making billions of new blood cells in the human body every day.

But for people with blood diseases, HSCs are necessary to make new blood cells, a demand which has typically been met with a supply of bone marrow. However, due to the array of difficulties that come along with bone marrow transplants, some researchers have been looking into using cultured HSCs to replace bone marrow transplants. Yet, they keep on getting stumped because HSCs lose their capacity for self-renewal in cultures soon after being removed from bone marrow.

"Although we've learned a lot about the biology of these cells over the years, one key challenge has remained: making [HSCs] self-renew in the lab. We have to overcome this obstacle to move the field forward," explains senior study author Hanna K. A. Mikkola, a professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology at UCLA.

That’s why this study’s finding of a protein called MLLT3 is so noteworthy. Mikkola and her team found that manipulating MLLT3 resulted in a "more than 12-fold expansion of transplantable" HSCs. "If we think about the amount of blood stem cells needed to treat a patient, that's a significant number," commented Mikkola. The researchers plan to continue working on their process with MLLT3 in order to move from animal trials to human trials.

Sources: Nature, Medical News Today

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
SEP 29, 2022
Cancer
Customer-Led Innovation: Building the CTS Xenon
Customer-Led Innovation: Building the CTS Xenon
How customers and R&D scientists came together across oceans and a pandemic to create a next-gen cell therapy soluti ...
OCT 17, 2022
Cancer
The Value of Colonoscopy Screening
The Value of Colonoscopy Screening
Colorectal cancer (CRC) remains the third most common type of cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States.&nb ...
OCT 28, 2022
Cancer
Pancreatic Tumor Growth and Metastasis Inhibited
Pancreatic Tumor Growth and Metastasis Inhibited
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), a highly aggressive type of pancreatic cancer, has a very poor prognosis due, a ...
DEC 05, 2022
Cancer
Not All Plant-Based Diets are the Same, But Healthy Ones Could Reduce Risk of Colorectal Cancer
Not All Plant-Based Diets are the Same, But Healthy Ones Could Reduce Risk of Colorectal Cancer
Recent research has linked the quality of a plant-based diet to different diseases, including cardiovascular disease, di ...
DEC 08, 2022
Cancer
Could a Drug for Parkinson's Disease Reduce the Side Effects of Chemotherapy?
Could a Drug for Parkinson's Disease Reduce the Side Effects of Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapies, drugs used to fight cancer by killing tumor cells or preventing them from growing and dividing, remain s ...
DEC 22, 2022
Technology
Handheld Device for Detecting Oral Cancer
Handheld Device for Detecting Oral Cancer
According the that National Cancer Institute, cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx are expected to have accounted for ...
Loading Comments...