From: University of Pennsylvania
Published September 29, 2017 05:17 PM

Bone Marrow Protein May Be Target for Improving Stem Cell Transplants

Bone marrow contains hematopoetic stem cells, the precursors to every blood cell type. These cells spring into action following bone marrow transplants, bone marrow injury and during systemic infection, creating new blood cells, including immune cells, in a process known as hematopoiesis.

A new study led by University of Pennsylvania and Technical University of Dresdenscientists has identified an important regulator of this process, a protein called Del-1. Targeting it, the researchers noted, could be an effective way to improve stem cell transplants for both donors and recipients. There may also be ways to modulate levels of Del-1 in patients with certain blood cancers to enhance immune cell production. The findings are reported this week in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

“Because the hematopoetic stem cell niche is so important for the creation of bone marrow and blood cells and because Del-1 is a soluble protein and is easily manipulated, one can see that it could be a target in many potential applications,” said George Hajishengallis, the Thomas W. Evans Centennial Professor in the Department of Microbiology in Penn’s School of Dental Medicine and a senior author on the work.

Read more at University of Pennsylvania

Image: Researchers discovered a protein that helps bone marrow stem cells spring into action to make new blood cells. The protein, Del-1, plays a role following bone marrow transplants, making it a potential target for improving those procedures. Credit: University of Pennsylvania

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