Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers First To Map Gene That Regulates Adult Stem Cell Growth

Date:
January 15, 2007
Source:
University of Kentucky
Summary:
A new discovery in stem cell research may mean big things for cancer patients in the future. After being the first to genetically map and identify a gene that regulates adult stem cells, the researchers investigated the gene's protein product, Latexin, which can be used to ramp up the body's stem cell count. The team's findings are being published in Nature Genetics.

Ying Liang, a University of Kentucky postdoctoral fellow, works in Van Zant's lab.
Credit: Lee Thomas

A new discovery in stem cell research may mean big things for cancer patients in the future. Gary Van Zant, Ph.D., and a research team at the University of Kentucky published their findings today in Nature Genetics, an international scientific journal.

The researchers genetically mapped a stem cell gene and its protein product, Laxetin, and building on that effort, carried the investigation all the way through to the identification of the gene itself. This is the first time such a complete study on a stem cell gene has been carried out. This particular gene is important because it helps regulate the number of adult stem cells in the body, particularly in bone marrow. Now that it has been identified, researchers hope the gene, along with its protein product Latexin, can be used clinically, such as for ramping up the stem cell count in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation.

The researchers agreed that this very process is not only interesting, but important because of its usefulness in a wide variety of future genetics studies.

"We're thinking about cancer in a big way," Van Zant said. "This is a great example of translational research -- from the most basic type of genetic research all the way to possible treatments for patients."

One big obstacle chemotherapy patients face is stem cell loss after treatments. This limits the dosage amount and types of chemotherapy that can be given. But if Latexin were used to increase the stem cell count, patients would be able to receive increased doses of chemotherapy and be able to recover more quickly. Increased stem cell counts also would be valuable during bone marrow transplants, where the greatest number of stem cells are desired to help a patient recover from cancer.

Another possible use for Latexin would be to help increase the number of stem cells available in umbilical cord blood, which also is used to transplant healthy stem cells in blood marrow transplants. Currently, stem cell transplants with cord blood can only be used in children because cord blood does not contain enough stem cells for an amount needed to be transplanted into an adult.

The only stem cell population that has been examined for effects of Latexin to date is in bone marrow. Van Zant said it is possible, even probable, that other stem cell populations in tissues such as the liver, skin, pancreas or brain may be similarly affected by Latexin. This could open up new therapeutic strategies such as using stem cells for the treatment of other diseases and conditions such as liver disease, diabetes and central nervous system damage as a result of trauma or stroke.

The researchers also are looking into the possible role the gene plays in transforming healthy stem cells into cancerous ones, such as in leukemia and lymphomas. If the gene does in fact play such a role, it is possible that it also could provide the keys to new therapies.

Van Zant describes his discovery as an elation. He worked on the project for six years with Ying Liang, a former graduate student who is now a postdoctoral fellow at UK. Van Zant said this research and publication of the journal article is the culmination of a difficult but rewarding scientific journey.

"We think these findings will have an effect on the broad understanding of the molecular mechanisms that are important to stem cell regulation, including how some stem cells turn cancerous," Van Zant said. "The findings also will help scientists develop effective methods to modulate stem cell numbers and function for therapeutic uses, and also provide a better understanding of the age-related changes that occur in stem cells."

The research team included Van Zant, a professor of physiology in the UK College of Medicine and clinical director of the stem cell processing lab and cord blood bank at UK HealthCare's Markey Cancer Center; Liang, a hematology-oncology postdoctoral fellow in the UK College of Medicine; Michael Jansen, a pediatric research instructor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine; Bruce Aronow, a professor of pediatrics in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine; and Hartmut Geiger, an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Experimental Hematology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, who also was a postdoctoral fellow in Van Zant's lab at UK during the early phases of the project.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Kentucky. "Researchers First To Map Gene That Regulates Adult Stem Cell Growth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 January 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070114184207.htm>.
University of Kentucky. (2007, January 15). Researchers First To Map Gene That Regulates Adult Stem Cell Growth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070114184207.htm
University of Kentucky. "Researchers First To Map Gene That Regulates Adult Stem Cell Growth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070114184207.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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