According to new research from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, hematopoietic stem cells [stem cells that produce blood] are directly regulated by megakaryocytes, the blood cells responsible for healing wounds. The researchers found that megakaryotes produce two growth factors; one that signals for hematopoietic stem cells to proliferate, and one that keeps them in an inactive state. This relationship controls the amount of blood being produced in the body.
A research group led by Dr. Igor Slukvin, MD PHD, from University of Wisconsin-Madison has identified two transcription factors responsible for the differentiation of stem cells into numerous types of white and red blood cells. The team made use of messenger RNA to overexpress the two transcription factors, which allowed them to generate 30 million blood cells for every million stem cells, without the use of a virus or altering the genetic structure of the blood.
A research team from Mount Sinai, Harvard Medical School, and Children’s Hospital in Boston has determined the function of protein Sirtuin1 (SIRT1) in maintaining the regenerative ability of blood stem cells. The researchers found that young stem cells lacking SIRT1 exhibited a similar deficiency in rejuvenating blood as observed in older stem cells. These older, defunct blood stem cells are unable to refresh the body’s blood supply, resulting in vulnerability to age-related cancers and immune diseases.
Gamida Cell, a leading adult stem cell therapeutics company has completed enrollment for a Phase I/II trial for hematological malignancies utilizing their NiCord treatment. The treatment is a potential cure for blood cancers, sickle cell disease, thalassemia, severe autoimmune diseases and metabolic diseases. This trial is but one example of the increasing number of stem cell treatments moving out of the lab and entering the clinical testing phase.