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

Newly discovered hormone mimics the effects of exercise

11 hours ago

Scientists at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology have discovered a new hormone that fights the weight gain caused by a high-fat Western diet and normalizes the metabolism - effects commonly associated ...

Highly sensitive detection of malaria parasites

14 hours ago

New assays can detect malaria parasites in human blood at very low levels and might be helpful in the campaign to eradicate malaria, reports a study published this week in PLOS Medicine. An international team l ...

How fat breakdown contributes to insulin resistance

20 hours ago

New research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine has shed light on how chronic stress and obesity may contribute to type 2 diabetes. The findings point the finger at an unexpected biological perpetrator – ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.