Research Opens Doors to Expanding Adult Stem Cells Available for Transplants

Right now, there’s a large gap between the number of patients who need bone marrow and umbilical cord blood adult stem cell transplants and the number of transplant units available for use. This gap is due to the low rate of match between bone marrow donors and possible hosts, and the amount of human umbilical cord adult stem cells needed to treat one adult patient.

Research from the Linheng Li Lab and collaborators has revealed that reducing the function of a protein in human umbilical cord adult blood-forming stem cells allowed those cells to expand. These findings could provide an approach for bridging the adult bloodforming stem cell treatment gap for conditions like leukemia, blood disorders, immune system diseases, and other types of cancers, and may also be more broadly applicable to other types of adult stem cells.

This research was published online July 31, 2018, in Cell Research.