Canadian researchers have discovered a new molecule that enables expansion of cord blood stem cells.
A single unit of cord blood does not have enough number of stem cells to treat an adult. The discovery of this molecule could potentially end the hurdle of the limited number of cord blood stem cells in the treatment of adults in conditions such as Leukemia.
Some excerpts from a news article:
Canadian researchers have found a way to boost the number of stem cells in umbilical cord blood so more patients with leukemia and other blood-related cancers could receive potentially life-saving transplants.
The key to the breakthrough technique is a molecule developed at the Universite de Montreal, coupled with a bioreactor designed at the University of Toronto, which allows scientists to significantly expand the number of stem cells from a single unit of cord blood.
“Basically it’s going to give access to about 10 times as many cords in (cord blood) banks,” said Dr. Guy Sauvageau, principal investigator of stem cell genetics at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer at the Montreal university. “It’s as if you were to multiply by 10 today the number of cord blood units in the world.”
The molecule, called UM171, was discovered serendipitously. It had been created by a chemist at the institute working on another program but didn’t work for its intended purpose, “so they just threw it in what we call a library of compounds,” Sauvageau said Thursday from Montreal. Read Full Text
This discovery is clearly a breakthrough in stem cell technology increasing the scope of transplants for various medical conditions.