Anti-Aging Remedy for Stem Cells
Results from a study in mice show that by inhibiting the Cdc42 protein, older hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) behave like younger ones. HSCs are made in the bone marrow and eventually become red and white blood cells and platelets. While the number of HSCs increase with age, their ability to create new blood and immune cells become impaired, putting older individuals at a greater risk for developing infections and diseases such as leukemia. Researchers inhibited Cdc42 with drugs and were surprised that the aging process reversed in HSCs, something they previously thought was impossible. Future studies will involve using a protein inhibitor in mice along with gathering human HSCs for experiments to see if the results in mice apply to humans.
Transplant Engrafts Faster
A phase I trial involving 12 patients undergoing reduced-intensity chemotherapy and a subsequent umbilical cord blood stem cell transplant found that a compound from zebrafish shortened the amount of time it took for them to engraft. It is harder to use cord blood stem cells because a smaller amount is harvested and infused into the patients so it takes longer for them to engraft which increases the risk of infection and other problems. In this study, hematopoietic stem cells were treated with the compound, FT1050 and then placed in the patients and engraftment of the stem cells happened three to four days earlier than it normally does and they engrafted in all of the participants. Minorities usually receive these transplants because their donor pool is smaller.
Not a Fountain of Youth
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered that as people age, their hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) could not differentiate into B lymphocytes as well and typically became myeloid cells by comparing HSC from 15 elderly people and 28 younger people, all of whom were healthy. The bone marrow of mice that received HSCs from human donors had more myeloid cells compared to lymphoid cells. Genes related to age that played a role in the cell cycle, growth, division, DNA repair and death of cells were upregulated which means that do not enter the cell cycle at the correct time. This may result in an elderly person’s immune system not being fully functional and explain why blood cancers such as acute myeloid leukemia are more prevalent in this age group.
Recipient Could Also Be Donor
Paris researchers have proven that hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) incubated with growth factors to make them differentiate into RBCs mature and survive in the body. They showed that cultured red blood cells (cRBCs) matured in the body by injecting them into four mice. Then the HSCs from a donor were incubated and the cRBCs put back into the donor. Five days later, 94 to 100 percent of the circulating cRBCs were still alive and by 26 days it was 41 to 63 percent. These numbers are comparable to the normal lifespan and survival of RBCs that have matured in the bone marrow before entering the bloodstream. Researchers believe once the technique is improved upon, this alternative will be a solution to the worldwide RBC shortage and the side effects of current blood transfusions reduced.