Key Blood Cell Isolated by Stanford Researchers

A finding that may lead to more effective treatment of leukemia and other blood diseases, Stanford University researchers have isolated a human blood cell that represents the “great grandparent” of all blood cells.

The cell gives rise to all other cells of the blood since it is the first offspring of blood-forming stem cells that reside in bone marrow. The cell itself is called the multi-potent progenitor.

Never before isolated in humans, the multi-potent progenitor was previously well-known in mice.

The research was performed by Dr. Irving Weissman, director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Biology, co-lead author Dr. Ravindra Majeti, an instructor in hematology, and co-lead author Dr. Christopher Park, an instructor in pathology.

“We can compare the leukemic stem cell to this progenitor cell and from that find out what makes the leukemic stem cell different,” Weissman said, which could lead to new treatments for leukemia patients.

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