Doctors regularly inject stem cells into patients whose bone marrow has been destroyed by chemotherapy or radiation, but they havent known where these cells go after being injected. Research at the Stanford University School of Medicine has yielded an unexpected answer: when injected into mice, these cells may set up camp in one tissue early on but then move to another location or disappear entirely.
Published in the Dec. 15 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, the work upsets current thinking that transplanted stem cells find a habitable niche, settle in for the long haul and begin producing new blood cells. Instead, the newly transplanted cells drift throughout the body, nestling in one of a few homes where their populations subsequently wax and wane until some finally flourish.
Researchers said the procedure used to follow the injected cells movements could one day help scientists hone their techniques for transplanting bone-marrow stem cells in humans and optimize therapies for cancer and immunodeficiencies. Developing these types of new stem cell-based treatments for cancer is among the primary goals of Stanfords Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine.
Mitzi Baker | EurekAlert!
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