Navigation Links
Stem cells: Deathly awakening by interferon
Date:2/12/2009

After injuries with blood loss, the body quickly needs to restore the vital blood volume. This is accomplished by a special group of stem cells in the bone marrow. These hematopoietic stem cells remain dormant throughout their lives and are only awakened to activity in case of injury and loss of blood. Then they immediately start dividing to make up for the loss of blood cells. This has recently been shown by a group of scientists headed by Professor Andreas Trumpp of DKFZ.

Dormancy is an important protection mechanism of stem cells. First, it protects their genetic material from genetic alterations, which happen primarily during cell division. In addition, dormancy helps them escape attacks of many cytotoxins, which act only on dividing cells.

Scientists were still puzzling over which signaling molecules actually wake up stem cells from their dormancy. Andreas Trumpp and Marieke Essers from his team have now reported in Nature that interferon-alpha, a messenger substance of the immune system, acts like an alarm clock for hematopoietic stem cells. The scientists have thus shown for the first time that interferon-alpha can have a direct influence on the function of stem cells.

Interferon-alpha is released by immune cells when the organism is threatened by bacteria or viruses. The scientists triggered interferon production in mice by administering a substance that simulates a viral infection to the animals. Subsequently, there was a great increase in the division rate of hematopoietic stem cells. In control animals that were unable to process the interferon signals, the substance did not lead to an awakening of the stem cells.

The investigators obtained further proof of the effect of interferon-alpha using a drug called 5-fluorouracil, a cytotoxic substance frequently used for treating breast or bowel cancer. Dormant stem cells are resistant to the drug, which unfolds its effect only during division. However, if animals are given interferon-alpha prior to treatment with 5-fluorouracil, they die of anemia after a short time. This is because prior treatment with interferon forces quiescent stem cells into cell division, which sensitizes them for the effect of 5-FU and kills them. Thus, there are soon no more stem cells to keep up the supply of short-lived mature blood cells such as erythrocytes and blood platelets.

What researchers find particularly exciting about this finding is the prospect that the newly found working mechanism might help improve cancer treatment: "Using interferon-alpha, we might be able to wake up from dormancy not only hematopoietic stem cells but also tumor stem cells and, thus, break their frequently observed resistance to many anticancer drugs," Andreas Trumpp speculates.

A clinical observation already suggests that this assumption is more than just wishful thinking: Patients suffering from a type of blood cancer called chronic myelogenous leukemia who are treated with a drug called Gleevec almost always relapse after drug treatment has ended. Several patients were given interferon-alpha prior to the Gleevec treatment. Surprisingly, these patients experienced long relapse-free phases without any medication. "We believe that the leukemia stem cells were awakened by the interferon administration and, thus, were sensitized to elimination by Gleevec," Andreas Trumpp explains.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Sibylle Kohlstdt
s.kohlstaedt@dkfz.de
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Cancer stem cells: know thine enemy
2. Tai Chi & Qigong will play an important role in global awakening. - A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle, (Oprahs Book Club)
3. HALT-C researchers: Interferon as long-term treatment for hepatitis C not effective
4. Interferon needed for cells to remember how to defeat a virus, UT Southwestern researchers report
5. Only Half of MS Patients Respond to Interferon Therapy
6. Interferon Reduces, Eliminates Viral Infections in Heart Failure Patients
7. Study shows that high-dose, high-frequency interferon produces no additional benefit
8. GenOdyssee Receives Notice of Allowance from U.S. Patent Office for Improved Interferon-Alpha Aimed at Hepatitis C
9. PEGINTRON(TM) and REBETOL(R) Approved in European Union for Retreating Hepatitis C Patients Who Failed Previous Pegylated or Non-Pegylated Interferon Therapy
10. Interferon does not slow or stop hepatitis C from worsening, study finds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... ... educate the many who are unaware of the plight of aphasia. In collaboration ... within the “Stroke Awareness” campaign. , The link between stroke and aphasia is ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... NY (PRWEB) , ... May 27, 2016 , ... ... world, this installment is bolstered by inspiring human interest stories, courtesy of leaders ... developing trends and tech within the industry, from leading advocates and associations—namely Jones ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... Each ... studying complementary medicine. Allison Outerbridge is this year’s Life University winner ... 18 at the university’s Student Leadership Awards ceremony. , Outerbridge is approaching her ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... , ... May 26, 2016 , ... Despite last week’s ... expect Janet Yellen and company to wait until March 2017 for an interest rate ... J. Mack Robinson College of Business. , “The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) dot ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... New Hampshire (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2016 , ... ... skin care products, has been honored with a 2016 When Work Works Award for ... prestigious award, part of the national When Work Works project administered by the Families ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... 2016 ReportsnReports.com adds "Chronic ... that provides an overview on therapeutic pipeline of ... stages, therapeutics assessment by drug target, mechanism of ... type, along with latest updates, and featured news ... involved in the therapeutic development for Chronic Cough ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... 24, 2016   ... primären Endpunkte und demonstriert Ebenbürtigkeit bei ... ‚ausgezeichneter plus guter , ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130829/633895-a ) ... positive Daten von der MORA-Studie der Phase III ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ARANZ Medical  Ltd a specialist ... has been named the Coretex Hi-Tech Emerging Company of the ... Dr Bruce Davey , CEO of ARANZ Medical says, ... good to be recognised for the work we are doing ... in 35 countries around the world from Sub-Saharan Africa through ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: