Scientists Uncovers Novel Method To Boost Number Of Stem Cells In Blood

Boosting the supply of life-saving stem cells

A protein that is important for developing typically sparse, life-saving blood stem cells has been uncovered by the scientists at the Center for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona and Columbia University, New York City.

Stem cells are used in various medical procedures like in the treatment of blood cancers, inherited blood disorders that require bone marrow transplantation, autoimmune diseases, etc. However, stem cells are limited, as it is difficult to grow them in large quantities. This study might shed light on novel methods for producing a large quantity of these stem cells, in in-vivo and in-vitro. The results of the study are published in the journal Cell Reports.

The continuous revival of blood and synthesizing billions of new cells every day is the main role of Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). These cells renew themselves for the whole life expectancy of an organism and give rise to all kinds of blood cells, including the cells that compose our body’s immune systems.

Hematopoietic stem cells have exceptional potential in treating many diseases. But in 2500, cells in the blood marrow, just 1 is HSCs, a dearth that restricts their application in clinical procedures.

A method of getting more Hematopoietic stem cells is by increasing their number in the bone marrow, circulating blood, or cord blood, and the other method is by reprogramming other blood stem cells to procure some of the self-renewing qualities of HSCs.

The team identified the proteins capable of reprogramming other blood stem cells using an algorithm known as VIPER. 8 potential candidates were identified using VIPER. Only 1 of the candidates – a gene referred to as BAZ2B, was capable to substantially increase the number of Hematopoietic stem cells in blood from the umbilical cord.

BAZ2B rearranged their chromatin of blood stem cells to a Hematopoietic stem cells-like state. This opened up novel areas in the genome that were formerly unattainable. These reconstructed cells were successfully transplanted into the bone marrow of immunocompromised mice, replenishing the growth of the tissue.

Pia Cosma, ICREA Research Professor, Group Leader, CRG, and one of the authors of the study, said that the shortage of HSCs is among the greatest obstacles to the advancement of new and better treatments. Their study is compelling as they have uncovered a method of increasing their numbers after activating one aspect. Producing more of these life-saving stem cells will help many people in the long-term.

It is actually interesting to see that the approaches they have developed to identify the proteins that implement and maintain the malignant state of cancers can also be utilized to determine vital players in regular human physiology, consisting of proteins that can aid in combating other diseases. Extremely, the proteins that are best suited to the VIPER technique are precisely those that manage human developing procedures, like blood differentiation and regeneration, hence opening new interesting methods in regenerative medicine, stated Clyde, Andea Califano, and Helen Wu Professor of Chemical and Systems Biology, Columbia University Medical Center.

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Boosting the supply of life-saving stem cells

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