Scientists Shed More Light On Optimizing Bone Marrow Transplants

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Bone marrow transplant, which involves transplanting healthy blood stem cells to patients, is the best therapy in many immune disorders, types of cancers, or blood diseases. Although more than 20,000 bone marrow transplants are performed in the US each year, the scientists are still far from completely understanding how stem cells work. In a recent study, scientists shed more light on optimizing bone marrow transplants.

Scientists at USC and Stanford University carried out two clinical trials on lab mice, while they shed more light on optimizing bone marrow transplants, deepened the mystery, on the other hand. According to the studies, the transplanted stem cells do not act like those in healthy patients. Even more, radiotherapy and high-dose chemotherapy trigger extreme behaviors in the stem cells.

The studies’ results were released in Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences (PNAS) on January 8th.

Scientists Shed More Light On Optimizing Bone Marrow Transplants

“Our research has important implications for understanding and optimizing bone marrow transplants and certain types of gene therapy,” explained Rong Lu, an assistant professor of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine at USC, and the lead researcher of the studies.

In their experiments, the scientists shed more light on optimizing bone marrow transplants. According to them, when transplanting stem cells into an irradiated lab mouse, only a few of the stem cells start to produce blood and immune cells. On the other hand, the majority of the transplanted stem cells dormant and do nothing.

Also, in the mice that had not experienced radiation treatment, the stem cells introduced via bone marrow transplants acted as the original ones, contributing equally to the circulatory and immune systems. However, they did not involve in the production of T cells, the scientists suggesting that the preconditioning regimen the patients follow before the transplant is the cause for the abnormal stem cells behavior.


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