Newly Identified Immune Cell Population Protects Stem Cells

In Nature Immunology, a study identifies a new specialized subpopulation of cells, residing in bone marrow, that protect stem cell populations. Macrophages, which largely act as immune system safe keepers, can prevent stem cells from differentiation by secreting prostaglandins, a chemical signal. The research group, led by Prof. Tsvee Lapidot of the Weizmann Institute of Science, hypothesize that this protective effect may help explain why some cancers do not respond to treatment. Moreover, it reveals the potential benefit prostaglandin-laden stem cell treatments may hold for blood cancers like leukemia.

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