Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Identify Genes That Foster Blood Cell Development From Stem Cells

Date:
July 11, 2005
Source:
University Of Minnesota
Summary:
For a child with leukemia or lymphoma, a donation of umbilical cord blood can be a lifesaver. Now, University of Minnesota researchers have identified a group of genes that guide the functioning of hematopoietic stem cells, a finding that may help researchers grow enough of the cells in the laboratory to give doctors more options in treating patients.

University researchers hope to use cord blood to develop red blood cells like these, which were derived from embryonic stem cells.
Credit: Image courtesy of University Of Minnesota

For a child with leukemia or lymphoma, a donation of umbilical cord blood can be a lifesaver. But cords contain only a small amount of blood and may have so few hematopoietic stem cells--the cells that continuously produce red and white cells and platelets in our bloodstreams--that multiple donations are often needed for older children and adults. Now, University of Minnesota researchers have identified a group of genes that guide the functioning of hematopoietic stem cells, a finding that may help researchers grow enough of the cells in the laboratory to give doctors more options in treating patients.

Related Articles


"The goal is to develop the ability to grow stem cell populations from cord blood," says Stephen Ekker, associate professor of genetics, cell biology and development. "Even to double or triple the number of stem cells available would expand doctors' ability to treat children with one donor instead of two. Or to treat adults, if we can expand the populations enough." Ekker and Catherine Verfaillie, director of the university's Stem Cell Institute, led the study, which will be published in the July issue of Public Library of Science--Biology.

Working with zebrafish--a common laboratory model organism--the researchers inactivated over 60 genes, one by one, in fish embryos. Observing the effects of each gene "knockout," they identified 14 genes that play a role in the development of blood cells from hematopoietic stem cells and determined which step along the road to blood cell production each gene is necessary for.

An example is a gene dubbed "Sprouty." When it was inactivated, embryos showed a lack of blood cell development. But when the researchers added either the human or the fish version of the gene to embryos lacking Sprouty, blood cell development was restored. If they added back multiple copies of the gene, even more blood cells were made, indicating Sprouty is likely important at an early step in blood development.

The next step, says Ekker, is to repeat this experiment with each gene. If incorporating extra copies of a gene into fish embryos boosts blood cell production, the gene will become a candidate for addition to human hematopoietic stem cells. Using this procedure, the researchers hope eventually to enhance blood cell production in the laboratory, not only by coaxing each hematopoietic stem cell to produce lots of mature blood cells but by encouraging the stem cells to replenish their own stocks.

The research fits in perfectly with the mission of the University's new McGuire Translational Research Facility, which opened officially in June. Work in the facility, which will house the Stem Cell Institute, the College of Pharmacy's Orphan Drug Center, and the new Center for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Translational Research, aims to "translate" discoveries about basic biology into treatments for such diseases and conditions as tuberculosis, HIV, malaria, heart disease, Parkinson's disease, and spinal cord injury. The ability to turn research into recovery will further establish the University of Minnesota as a powerhouse of research on stem cells and other topics.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Minnesota. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Minnesota. "Researchers Identify Genes That Foster Blood Cell Development From Stem Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050710195643.htm>.
University Of Minnesota. (2005, July 11). Researchers Identify Genes That Foster Blood Cell Development From Stem Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050710195643.htm
University Of Minnesota. "Researchers Identify Genes That Foster Blood Cell Development From Stem Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050710195643.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins