The findings, published today online ahead of print in Cell Stem Cell, usher in a new paradigm for the regulation of human blood stem cells, says co-principal investigator Dr. John Dick, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Biology and is a Senior Scientist at University Health Network's McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI), the research arm of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. He is also a Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto.
"For the first time in human blood stem cells, we have established that a new class of non-coding RNA called miRNA represents a new tactic for manipulating these cells, which opens the door to expanding them for therapeutic uses," says Dr. Dick.
In 2011, Dr. Dick isolated a human blood stem cell in its purest form – as a single stem cell capable of regenerating the entire blood system – paving the way for clinical uses. He also pioneered the cancer stem cell field by identifying leukemia stem cells in 1994 and colon cancer stem cells in 2007.
OCI lead author Dr. Eric Lechman says the research team removed a master control gene – microRNA 126 (miR-126) – that normally governs the expression of hundreds of other genes by keeping them silenced, which in turn keeps the stem cells in a non-dividing dormant state. The method was to introduce excess numbers of miR-126 binding sites into the stem cells by using a specially designed viral vector.
"The virus acted like a sponge and mopped up the specific miRNA in the cells. This enabled the expression of normally repressed genes to become prominent, after which we observed a long-term expansion of the blood stem cells without exhaustion or malignant transformation," says Dr. Lechman.
Adds Dr. Dick: "We've shown that if you remove the miRNA you can expand the stem cells while keeping their identity intact. That's the key to long-term stem cell expansion for use with patients." The co-principal investigator was Dr. Luigi Naldini, Director, of the San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy, Milan.
Dr. Dick's research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Terry Fox Foundation, Genome Canada through the Ontario Genomics Institute, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, the Canada Research Chair Program, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Canada Foundation of Innovation, as well as The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.
About Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and its research arm, Ontario Cancer Institute, have achieved an international reputation as global leaders in the fight against cancer and delivering personalized cancer medicine. The Princess Margaret, one of the top five international cancer research centres, is a member of the University Health Network, which also includes Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. All are research hospitals affiliated with the University of Toronto. For more information, go to www.theprincessmargaret.ca or www.uhn.ca .
Jane Finlayson | EurekAlert!
North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich
Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein
22.03.2018 | Universität Basel
An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.
The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.
In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News
22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences