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NIH grants to Children's Hospital will advance novel stem cell treatments for blood disorders
Date:2/16/2010

cells that help control bleeding and assist in wound healing. Patients receiving chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation depend on transfusions of platelets to restore levels depleted by their treatments. However, the donor supply is limited, and after multiple transfusions, patients may develop antibodies that attack the donated platelets.

Under the platelet grant, awarded jointly to Children's Hospital and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/University of Washington Cancer Consortium, researchers will pursue a novel approachgenerating platelets from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Such cells--derived from human embryos fertilized in vitro fertilization clinics and donated for research purposes--are capable of developing into every type of tissue in the body.

In seeking to control the fate of these hESCs, the two research centers in this collaboration are pursuing complementary approaches. The Children's Hospital group, under Poncz, will focus on generating platelets and their precursor cells from hESCs in laboratory studies. The Washington State team, under co-principal investigator Beverly Torok-Storb, Ph.D., will rely on its expertise in stem cell transplants and animal studies to develop reagents to administer to patients that will stimulate the patients' existing precursor cells to develop into platelets.

At Children's Hospital, two project leaders are prominent stem cell researchers recently recruited to the Hospital's Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics, directed by gene therapy pioneer Katherine A. High, M.D. Paul J. Gadue, Ph.D., and Deborah L. French, Ph.D., will lead important components of the overall program. (Another project leader in the platelet grant, Mitchell Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., also leads a second NIH-funded grant for stem cell research, described below.) Children's Hospital has established a new core facility, the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Core, to supply cells for their studies.


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Contact: John Ascenzi
Ascenzi@email.chop.edu
267-426-6055
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Source:Eurekalert

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