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.
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
Dr. Neil Riordan presents data on human umbilical cord-derived stem cell treatments. Dr. Riordan is Founder of the Stem Cell Institute in Panama City, Panama.
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