For scientists who study stem cells, the ability to produce hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) in the lab and then transplant them into patients with blood disorders has been a long-sought-after goal. Recently, the field took a step closer to that milestone when researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai identified cells in the embryos and placentas of mice that are actually precursors to HSPCs. Hematopoiesis is the daily process by which the human body generates all of the different types of cells found in the blood and immunological system. Read more
A unique method of increasing the number of cord blood stem cells used to treat patients with blood cancers and blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia, is being readied for clinical trials at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, with an $8.8 million grant from the New York State Stem Cell Science Program (NYSTEM).
The stem cells—also known as hematopoietic stem cells—are derived from the vein of the umbilical cord and help renew and replenish blood cells. They represent the only potential therapy for blood cancer patients who do not respond to chemotherapy. The new method is necessary to compensate for the limited number of stem cells that are typically found in blood cord collections and the fact that using stem cells from two or more blood cord collections is generally not a viable option because the blood cells are not identical. Read more
What is the future of stem cell research? Embryonic cells were once so controversial that President George W. Bush limited federal funding in 2001 (a policy that was overturned by President Obama in 2009). Now there is a new type of stem cell, similar to embryonic stem cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells. We’ve all heard the claims concerning the extraordinary potential of stem cells (be they embryonic or induced) in the treatment of human disease. What will be the first commonly used stem cell therapy?