Professor Harvey Lodish and his post-doc Chengcheng Zhang from Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge have found a combination of growth factors which enriches and increases the number of stem cells in the laboratory before it could be injected into the recipient.
Stem cell therapy as shown that the quantity of stem cells required for a therapy is very high and it requires isolating large number of stem cells. Stem cells for therapeutic treatment are isolated from various sources like bone marrow, cord blood and peripheral blood but the quantity of isolated stem cells are very less.
Hematopoietic stem cells are required for production of billions of new blood cells and immune cells every day in our body as these cells have the capacity to give rise to different blood cells which protects the body from infection. Hematopoietic stem cells are used for treating various blood disorders and blood cancers.
The researchers combined the already well established growth factor IGF-2 with Angiopoietin-like 2 and -3 and found that the new combination increased the production of hematopoietic cell in the lab by more than 30 times. The researchers feel that increased production of stem cells would increase the transplantation rate and would also help in gene targeted therapy in which the gene of interest could be injected into the vector virus and these stem cells can be proliferated in the lab by using this combination growth factors and transferred to the recipient as the probability of gene transfer would be effectively increased. Though the combination growth factors have been very effective in proliferation in the laboratory conditions the researchers have to see the effect of this proliferation in humans. The result of the work has been published in the Journal Nature Medicine.