Tags: Transformation | Adult | Stem | Cells | Amaze | Researchers

Transformation of Adult Stem Cells Amaze Researchers

Friday, 04 May 2001 12:00 AM

"The long-held belief has been that bone marrow is supposed to produce blood cells and liver is supposed to produce liver cells," said study co-author Dr. Neil Theise of New York University School of Medicine. "Now that we know differently, the goal is to harness the potential of this finding into new avenues for therapeutics."

Reporting in the current issue of the journal Cell, Dr. Diane Krause of Yale Cancer Center and colleagues said their cells are the closest developed to date to embryonic stem cells. That promising yet controversial line of cells is gathered from discarded fetuses and can be coaxed into growing into virtually any cell in the human body.

Theise and Krause were among the first researchers to show that adult could be created using stem cells.

"It had been thought that only embryonic stem cells had such wide-ranging potential," Theise told United Press International. "However, this study provides the strongest evidence yet that the adult body harbors stem cells that are as flexible as embryonic stem cells."

Helen Blau of Stanford University, Calif., helped pioneer some of the techniques used by Theise and Krause in their latest studies.

"We need much more data, but I think it's a pretty encouraging start," she told UPI.

For years, researchers studying stem cells have been intrigued by the possibility that these cells might also be used to treat brain diseases. Recent studies have suggested that neural stem cells transplanted into the brain can migrate throughout the brain and develop into other types of cells.

Stem cells in the marrow may be recruited to a damaged organ where they will develop into the mature tissue of that organ in response to certain signals. However, Theise and Krause speculate that any healthy adult cell with an intact genome can be reprogrammed to become a stem cell.

Krause and Theise have also analyzed liver samples from female leukemia patients who had undergone bone marrow transplantation from a male donor, and from male liver disease patients who had received a liver transplant from female donors. Bone marrow derived cells were identified by the presence of the Y chromosome, which is found only in males.

"We have proven that in humans there are stem cells for the liver in the bone marrow," Theise said. "These cells potentially could be used as a source of cells for liver transplants, as a pool of cells for the development of an artificial liver and in gene therapy to treat many liver diseases."

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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The long-held belief has been that bone marrow is supposed to produce blood cells and liver is supposed to produce liver cells, said study co-author Dr. Neil Theise of New York University School of Medicine. Now that we know differently, the goal is to harness the...
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2001-00-04
Friday, 04 May 2001 12:00 AM
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