Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that a protein called NF-Ya activates several genes known to regulate the development of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), or blood-producing stem cells, in bone marrow. Knowing the details of this pathway may one day lead to new treatments for such blood diseases as leukemia, as well as a better understanding of how HSCs work in the context of bone-marrow and peripheral-stem-cell transplantation. The authors published their findings in the early August issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Practically, the researchers' goal is to find a way to control stem-cell fate by biochemically turning NF-Ya on or off at will, to either make more stem cells in the case of bone-marrow failure and for transplantation, or to force the cells to differentiate, in the case of leukemia, where too many HSCs are made.
Master regulatory gene found that guides fate of blood-producing stem cells
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