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Breakthrough reveals blood vessel cells are key to growing unlimited amounts of adult stem cells
Date:3/4/2010

ctors, serum, and genetically manipulated feeder cells, have only been marginally successful. This study, which employs endothelial cells to propagate stem cells without added growth factors and serum, will likely revolutionize the use of adult stem cells for organ regeneration, as well as decipher the complex physiology of the adult stem cells.

"This study will have a major impact on the treatment of any blood-related disorder that requires a stem cell transplant," says the study's senior author, Dr. Shahin Rafii, the Arthur B. Belfer Professor in Genetic Medicine, co-director of the Ansary Stem Cell Institute and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, at Weill Cornell Medical College. Currently, stem cells derived from bone marrow or umbilical cord blood are used to treat patients who require bone marrow transplants. Most stem cell transplants are successful, but because of the shortage of genetically matched bone marrow and umbilical cord blood cells, many patients cannot benefit from the procedure.

"Over the last few decades, substantial funding has been spent to develop platforms to expand adult stem cell cultures, but these efforts have never been able to coax an authentic adult stem cell to self-renew beyond a few days," continues Dr. Rafii. "Most stem cells, even in the presence of multiple growth factors, serum, and support from generic non-endothelial stromal cells, die after a few days. Now, employing our endothelial stem cell co-cultures, we can propagate bona fide adult stem cells in the absence of external factors and serum beyond 21 days with an expansion index of more than 400-fold."

If this vascular-based stem cell expansion strategy continues to be validated, physicians could use any source of hematopoietic (blood-producing) stem cells, propagate them exponentially, and bank the cells for transplantation into patients.

In a true first, the study demonstrates how this novel vascular cell platform or "vas
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Contact: Andrew Klein
ank2017@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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