Researchers Identify Key Environment for Creating Blood Stem Cells
Researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine, including first author and NYSCF – Druckenmiller Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Raphael Lis, reprogrammed adult mouse endothelium, the tissue that lines blood vessels, into blood-forming stem cells using genes for four transcription factors (substances that direct cell differentiation). The researchers investigated the effects of growing the cells in a vascular environment, functionally surrounding the reprogrammed cells with other cells that provided signals to help reprogram the tissue, finding that this environment appears to be a key factor to successful reprogramming.
The study, published in Nature, used transcription factors that have been linked to leukemia. To test the technique for safety, the scientists monitored the reprogrammed cells after they were implanted in mice and found no evidence of leukemia after 20 weeks.
While this study was restricted to mice, it has important implications for treatment of human disease, including blood disorders such as leukemia.