Boning up: McMaster researchers find home of best stem cells for bone marrow transplants

Main Category: Stem Cell Research
Also Included In: Bones / Orthopedics
Article Date: 01 Aug 2013 – 9:00 PDT

University, McMaster. “Boning up: McMaster researchers find home of best stem cells for bone marrow transplants.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 1 Aug. 2013. Web.
2 Aug. 2013. <>

It is hoped this discovery will lead to lowering the amount of bone marrow needed for a donation while increasing regeneration and lessening rejection in the recipient patients, says principal investigator Mick Bhatia, professor and scientific director of the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute.

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In a paper published online by the journal Cell Stem Cell, his team reports that human stem cells (HSC) residing in the end (trabecular region) of the bones display the highest regenerative ability of the blood and immune system.

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McMaster University researchers have revealed the location of human blood stem cells that may improve bone marrow transplants. The best stem cells are at the ends of the bone.

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Bone marrow transplants have been done for more than 50 years and are routine in most hospitals, providing a life saving treatment for cancer and other diseases including leukemia, anemia, and immune disorders.

“Boning up: McMaster researchers find home of best stem cells for bone marrow transplants”, Mickie Bhatia, Cell Stem Cell.

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“Like the best professional hockey players, our findings indicate blood stem cells are not all equal,” said Bhatia. “We now reveal the reason why – it’s not the players themselves, but the effect the arena has on them that makes them the highest scorers.”


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Boning up: McMaster researchers find home of best stem cells for bone marrow transplants

The research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Ontario Cancer Research Institute.

Bhatia, who also holds a Canada Research Chair in Human Stem Cell Biology, said that cells surrounding the best blood stem cells are critically important, as these “stem cell neighbors” at the end of the bone provide the unique instructions that give these human blood stem cells their superior regenerative abilities.

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