Some paediatric treatments ‘could help adults’

8 May 2014

Adult patients with blood-related diseases, such as leukaemia and lymphoma, could benefit from life-saving treatments commonly administered to children, according to new research from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. 

Researchers have identified a new technique that causes cord blood (CB) stem cells to generate in larger numbers, which makes them more useful in treating adults.

The team then looked at ways to expand the number of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) to replenish and renew blood cells. 

CB cells can rapidly divide in the presence of different growth factors, but often lose their marrow-repopulating potential following cell division. 

Researchers examined ways to overcome this limitation by inducing a genetic programme to allow the stem cells to retain their full functional properties after dividing. 

Pratima Chaurasia, one of the study’s authors, said: "Cord blood stem cells have always posed limitations for adult patients because of the small number of stem cells present in a single collection.

"These limitations have resulted in a high rate of graft failure and delayed engraftment in adult patients."

Ronald Hoffman, from the school, added that the findings have important implications for adults battling blood cancers and could mean the difference between the success and failure of life-saving stem cell transplants.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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