Boning up: Researchers find home of best stem cells for bone marrow transplants

McMaster University researchers have revealed the location of human blood stem cells that may improve bone marrow transplants. The best stem cells are at the ends of the bone.

It is hoped this discovery will lead to lowering the amount of bone marrow needed for a donation while increasing regeneration and lessening rejection in the recipient patients, says principal investigator Mick Bhatia, professor and scientific director of the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute.

In a paper published online today by the journal Cell Stem Cell, his team reports that human (HSC) residing in the end (trabecular region) of the bones display the highest regenerative ability of the blood and immune system.

"Like the best professional hockey players, our findings indicate blood stem cells are not all equal," said Bhatia. "We now reveal the reason why—it's not the players themselves, but the effect the arena has on them that makes them the highest scorers."

Bone marrow transplants have been done for more than 50 years and are routine in most hospitals, providing a life saving treatment for cancer and other diseases including leukemia, anemia, and .

Bhatia, who also holds a Canada Research Chair in Human Stem Cell Biology, said that cells surrounding the best blood stem cells are critically important, as these "stem cell neighbors" at the end of the bone provide the unique instructions that give these stem cells their superior regenerative abilities.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cross-country collaboration leads to new leukemia model

Jul 31, 2013

Eight years ago, two former Stanford University postdoctoral fellows, one of them still in California and the other at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) in Cambridge, began exchanging theories about why patients with ...

Recommended for you

Team untangles the biological effects of blue light

13 hours ago

Blue light can both set the mood and set in motion important biological responses. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine and School of Arts and Sciences have teased apart the ...

Mouse model provides new insight in to preeclampsia

14 hours ago

Worldwide, preeclampsia is a leading cause of maternal deaths and preterm births. This serious pregnancy complication results in extremely high blood pressure and organ damage. The onset of preeclampsia is associated with ...

User comments