Stem cells that were successfully transplanted don't behave normally as in a healthy person without a bone marrow transplant, found a new USC and Stanford study, conducted in mice.
Bone marrow transplants, which involve transplanting healthy blood stem cells, offer the best treatment for many types of cancers, blood disorders and immune diseases. Even though 22,000 of these procedures are performed each year in the US, much remains to be understood about how they work.
The findings appeared in Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences (PNAS).
In a series of experiments, scientists learned that when transplanted into an irradiated mouse, only a very small minority of the stem cells produce blood and immune cells, while many other stem cells become dormant and do nothing. In addition, post-radiation, this handful of "super producer" stem cells also become biased towards producing only certain types of immune cells. However, the overall blood and immune system, still tends to remain balanced.