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Study Finds Way to Boost Stem Cell Production in Cord Blood
A new technique that improves stem cell production in cord blood could make this source more useful in adult blood cancer transplant patients.
Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai are reporting in The Journal of Clinical Investigation that they have identified a new technique that causes cord blood (CB) stems cells to generate in greater numbers, thereby making them more useful in adult transplantation.
The study looked at ways to expand the number of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) in the laboratory required to replenish and renew blood cells. Cord blood stem cells can divide rapidly in the presence of combinations of growth factors, but after cell division they lose their marrow-repopulating potential.
Seeking to overcome this problem for researchers meant finding a way to induce a genetic program where these stem cells would retain all of its functional properties after dividing in the laboratory.
"Cord blood stem cells have always posed limitations for adult patients because of the small number of stem cells present in a single collection," said Pratima Chaurasia, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai. "These limitations have resulted in a high rate of graft failure and delayed engraftment in adult patients."
Researchers used a technique called epigenetic reprogramming. The result was a higher number of repopulating stem cells.
"We're excited by these results," said Ronald Hoffman, MD, Albert A. and Vera G. List Professor of Medicine, Director of Myeloproliferative Disorders Research Program at the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai. "The findings have important implications for patients battling blood cancers and the difference between success and failure of life saving stem cell transplants."