Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stem cells enable personalized treatment for bleeding disorder

Date:
April 5, 2013
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
Scientists have shed light on a common bleeding disorder by growing and analysing stem cells from patients' blood to discover the cause of the disease in individual patients.

3-D rendering of blood cells. Scientists have shed light on a common bleeding disorder by growing and analysing stem cells from patients' blood to discover the cause of the disease in individual patients. In future, blood cells could be grown, manipulated, and applied as treatments for diseases of the heart, blood and circulation, including heart attacks and haemophilia, researchers hope.
Credit: Nunah / Fotolia

Scientists have shed light on a common bleeding disorder by growing and analysing stem cells from patients' blood to discover the cause of the disease in individual patients.

The technique may enable doctors to prescribe more effective treatments according to the defects identified in patients' cells.

In future, this approach could go much further: these same cells could be grown, manipulated, and applied as treatments for diseases of the heart, blood and circulation, including heart attacks and haemophilia.

The study focused on von Willebrand disease (vWD), which is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people and can cause excessive, sometimes life-threatening bleeding. vWD is caused by a deficiency of von Willebrand factor (vWF), a blood component involved in making blood clot. vWF is produced by endothelial cells, which line the inside of every blood vessel in our body. Unfortunately, they are difficult to study because taking biopsies from patients is invasive and unpleasant.

A group led by Dr Anna Randi at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London used a new approach to investigate the disease. Dr Richard Starke, a British Heart Foundation Intermediate Fellow and lead author of the study, took routine blood samples from eight patients with vWD, extracted stem cells called endothelial progenitor cells, and grew them in the lab to yield large numbers of endothelial cells.

By testing these cells, they were able to analyse each patient's disease in unprecedented detail. In some patients, the scientists found new types of defect, which may enable them to recommend improved treatments. Professor Mike Laffan, a collaborator in the study and in charge of patients with VWD at Hammersmith Hospital in West London, is looking to apply these findings to reduce severe bleeding in these patients.

Dr Randi believes that endothelial progenitor cells could become an invaluable resource for testing new drugs for vWD and other diseases. "We will be able to test the effects of a range of compounds in the patients' own cells, before giving the drugs to the patients themselves," she said.

This approach could have impact far beyond vWD. Endothelial cells derived from blood could also be isolated and reinjected into someone recovering from a heart attack, to help them grow new blood vessels and repair the injured heart tissue. Dr Starke says this approach avoids the main problem with transplant therapies, in which the immune system tries to destroy the foreign material. "The patients would receive their own cells, so they wouldn't face the problems of rejection," he said.

Work is well underway towards achieving this goal, but blood-derived endothelial cells are only now being explored. "There are already many studies where patients have been injected with stem cells to see whether damage to the heart could be repaired, and there are some promising results," says Dr Randi. "The door is open to such treatments, and our studies are a step towards identifying the right cells to use."

The group's previous research has already thrown up pointers for potential new treatments. Aside from producing vWF to form clots, endothelial cells are responsible for forming new blood vessels. In their last paper, the group showed that vWF is actually needed to build healthy blood vessels. Some patients with vWD suffer severe bleeding from the gut because defects in vWF cause their blood vessels to develop abnormally. "There are drugs already being used in other diseases which target abnormal blood vessel, that could be useful to stop bleeding in some vWD patients," says Randi. "Nobody would have thought of using them to treat vWD, but by testing them on the patient's own endothelial cells , in the laboratory, we can find out if these drugs work before giving them to the patient."

Scientists are now interested in the possibility of using endothelial cells as a treatment in themselves. For instance, haemophilia, the hereditary bleeding disorder which affected Queen Victoria's family, might one day be treated by taking these cells from a patient and replacing the gene that causes the disease, then putting them back into the patient.

Funding for the study came from the British Heart Foundation, the Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research Imperial Biomedical Research Centre.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Imperial College London. The original article was written by Eliot Barford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. D. Starke, K. E. Paschalaki, C. E. F. Dyer, K. J. Harrison-Lavoie, J. A. Cutler, T. A. J. McKinnon, C. M. Millar, D. F. Cutler, M. A. Laffan, A. M. Randi. Cellular and molecular basis of von Willebrand disease: studies on blood outgrowth endothelial cells. Blood, 2013; 121 (14): 2773 DOI: 10.1182/blood-2012-06-435727

Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "Stem cells enable personalized treatment for bleeding disorder." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130405094342.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2013, April 5). Stem cells enable personalized treatment for bleeding disorder. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130405094342.htm
Imperial College London. "Stem cells enable personalized treatment for bleeding disorder." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130405094342.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
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