U of Penn researchers find stem cell property to speed up the restart of blood cells and immune systems in cancer patients

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Engineering and Applied Science have found a property of stem cells that may speed the restart of blood cells and immune system components after a patient's own are compromised, according to a university article.
In a patient, the new cells need to make their way from the circulatory system into the bones as quickly as possible, according to the article. To do that, they must find the spots where blood vessels and bone are in close contact.

“Through in vitro experiments, the researchers have also begun to show which surface molecules are involved in these cells' ability to anchor themselves to blood vessel walls and move themselves against the direction of flow. Understanding this process could lead to new ways of preparing the stem cells in a bone marrow transplant, making them faster and more effective,” the article states.
BMES members Alexander Buffone, a postdoctoral researcher in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Daniel Hammer, Alfred G. and Meta A. Ennis Professor in Bioengineering and in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering led the study. BMES member, graduate student and fellow Hammer lab member Nicholas Anderson also contributed to the study.

CLICK HERE for the study published in the Journal of Cell Science.

According to an interview by the Journal of Cell Sciece with Buffone: “The phenomena of any immune cell, let alone hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs), crawling against the direction of flow seems counterintuitive,” he said.

“With the flow in the vasculature always going in only one direction, the fact that these cells can recruit from the free stream and crawl efficiently is the other direction was very interesting. The best analogy I've found for the upstream migration of the HSPCs is that the cells are behaving like a salmon crawling upstream against the current of a river.”

CLICK HERE for the full interview