In a ray of hope for millions of leukaemia patients, American scientists have claimed to have developed a technique which multiplies the small number of stem cells in the donor blood, making it much more potent for the treatment of the fatal disease.
It also eliminates the need for a matching donor, whose bone marrow is usually transplanted to the patient, according to a study which appeared in the journal Nature Medicine. Traditionally, there was always a risk that the patient’s body may reject the new cells from a donor.
MIT engineers have boosted stem cells’ ability to regenerate vascular tissue (such as blood vessels) by equipping them with genes that produce extra growth factors (naturally occurring compounds that stimulate tissue growth). In a study in mice, the researchers found that the stem cells successfully generated blood vessels near the site of an injury, allowing damaged tissue to survive.
Why it matters: Stem cells hold great potential as a way to promote tissue regeneration. However, this approach has been limited because stem cells don’t produce enough growth factors after transplantation. The researchers’ new super-charged stem cells could be used to
The team at Children’s Hospital Boston and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute were working with a new type of cell called induced pluripotent stem cells or iPS cells, which closely resemble embryonic stem cells but are made from ordinary skin cells.
In this case, they wanted to study a rare, inherited premature aging disorder called dyskeratosis congenita. The blood marrow disorder resembles the better-known aging disease progeria and causes premature graying, warped fingernails and other symptoms as well as a high risk of cancer.
One of the benefits of stem cells and iPS cells is that researchers can make them from
Image via Wikipedia
Scientists may be growing impatient, but President Obama has been rightly taking his time in addressing a campaign promise to lift the ban on federal funding for research using new lines of stem cells to be taken from human embryos. Even for strong backers of embryonic stem cell research, the decision is no longer as self-evident as it was, because there is markedly diminished need for expanding these cell lines for either patient therapy or basic research. In fact, during the first six weeks of Obama’s term, several events reinforced the notion that embryonic stem cells, once
An ‘antenna’ molecule, which is capable of guiding blood stem cells to their natural ‘home’, the bone marrow, has been discovered. The discovery could improve the efficiency of umbilical cord stem cell transplants. This type of transplant is not efficient when there are not many umbilical cord stem cells present, since few of them are able to reach the bone marrow from the blood.
Reported by Nature magazine, the discovery was made by David Scadden of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute in Boston. The stem cells, which normally renew the population of blood cells in the body