Researchers at the University of Minnesota have identified for the first time a group of genes that impact the development and function of blood stem cells, a discovery that brings researchers a step closer to harnessing the power of stem cells for disease treatments.
Every day, blood stem cells divide and differentiate to generate approximately 200 billion new blood cells in the bone marrow of adults. To maintain their numbers over time, blood stem cells also can divide and give rise to new blood stem cells through a process called self-renewal. What was not fully understood is which genes control the self-renewal and differentiation processes, and how these genes could be used to influence, or regulate, these processes.
The research will be published in the July issue of the journal of Public Library of Science Biology.
"If we can find a way to coax blood stem cells to self-renew and thus expand in the laboratory, doctors will have more options in treating diseases such as blood disorders, leukemias, and lymphomas," said Catherine Verfaillie, M.D., director of the University's Stem Cell Institute.
For example, researchers at the University already perform umbilical cord blood transplants to treat disease. But there are often not enough blood stem cells harvested from a single collection of umbilical cord blood to effectively treat adults and older children. This research provides insight into understanding how to stimulate blood stem cells to multiply so that scientists could generate enough cells from a single umbilical cord to treat more patients.
Importantly, the researchers developed a rapid way to identify genes that regulate the functions of stem cells that give rise to blood cells. They first developed a list of 277 genes that may regulate stem cells that make blood. They then focused on a group of 61 of these genes that had unknown roles in the function of blood stem cells.
Using zebrafish, a small fish that develops red blood cells in a way similar to humans, they "turned off" these genes in the fish embryos and watched to see if the blood formed normally. They found that disrupting the expression of 14 of these genes resulted in defects in how blood cells developed in zebrafish.
The next step is finding out how these 14 genes are involved in the development of blood cells in mammals, as well as how to harness the cells' ability to self-renew, or multiply. In the future, the techniques developed as a result of this research could be applied to other disciplines, such as neuroscience and diabetes research.
Substance lining blood vessels, ADMA, may cause cardiovascular disease
Publish Date : 10/5/2005 3:13:00 AM
A substance found naturally in the blood vessel lining is thought to contribute towards diseases associated with the circulation system......
Low-cost alternative drugs can help patients with problems controlling blood pressure
Publish Date : 10/5/2005 3:12:00 AM
Two inexpensive but widely overlooked drugs may help many patients who continue to have high blood pressure despite ......
Why don't some blood pressure-lowering drugs work for some people?
Publish Date : 9/26/2005 3:13:00 AM
For the first time, researchers have mapped a genetic location that explains why certain blood pressure-lowering drugs ......
Undiagnosed high blood pressure commonly found in ER patients
Publish Date : 9/2/2005 4:06:00 AM
Unrecognized and poorly controlled hypertension is common among emergency room patients, especially African Americans......
Fat kids can bounce back to normal blood pressure
Publish Date : 8/17/2005 2:31:00 AM
Overweight children who can shed their puppy fat by age 14 can expect lower blood pressure, according to a University of Queensland study.
High blood pressure not well controlled among older men and women, USA
Publish Date : 7/27/2005 2:46:00 AM
Nearly two-thirds of men and women age 80 and older have high blood pressure, but their conditions are frequently not kept under control ......
Why do aneurysms form? Possible leading role for white blood cells
Publish Date : 7/15/2005 2:36:00 AM
Each year, 200,000 Americans find out that the largest blood vessel in their body, the aorta, may burst open at any time.
SARS receptor is blood pressure regulating protein ACE2
Publish Date : 7/12/2005 3:43:00 AM
A paper in the August issue of Nature Medicine reports that angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a crucial receptor ......
Researchers identify genes involved with blood stem cell development
Publish Date : 7/6/2005 5:24:00 AM
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have identified for the first time a group of genes that impact the development and function of blood stem cells, a ......
Soybean Protein May Lower Blood Pressure, New Study Finds
Publish Date : 7/6/2005 5:22:00 AM
A new 12-week study of 302 adults with high-normal or mildly elevated blood pressure found that those who ate special cookies containing ......
Total Results : 53
More News (Opens in New Window) :  2 3 4 5 6 Next Page