Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

New Blood

Researchers are now discovering unexpected activities of blood stem cells by stu

Researchers are now discovering unexpected activities of blood stem cells by studying them during infection.

By Christopher Hall & Philip Crosier

Chemotherapy takes a huge toll on the immune system, but new research into blood stem cell proliferation could improve the recovery of patients.

Christopher Hall is a Senior Research Fellow and Philip Crosier is a Professor of Molecular Medicine at The University of Auckland’s Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Blood stem cells are rare cells that maintain appropriate numbers of mature blood cell types throughout life. They are important because they can replace the entire blood system when transplanted into patients with blood disorders. Identifying new ways to increase the number of these powerfully regenerative stem cells is an area of intense research.

Recent studies have revealed that the numbers of these cells increases during infection. This has led researchers to try and understand how the body instructs its pool of blood stem cells to expand in response to infection.

By observing blood stem cells within live infected zebrafish larvae, we have identified a new genetic pathway that drives the expansion of these valuable cells. Identifying the genetic pathways controlling this response may enable researchers to increase the numbers of stem cells in the laboratory, thus increasing their regenerative potential when administered to patients.

Stem Cell Regeneration after Leukaemia Therapy

Stem cells have the remarkable ability to develop into different specialised cell types. In many tissues, limited numbers of stem cells provide a type of internal repair system, replacing cells lost as a result of normal wear and tear, injury or disease.

Mammalian blood stem cells, whose numbers are established during early development, reside in the...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.