According to new research from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, hematopoietic stem cells [stem cells that produce blood] are directly regulated by megakaryocytes, the blood cells responsible for healing wounds. The researchers found that megakaryotes produce two growth factors; one that signals for hematopoietic stem cells to proliferate, and one that keeps them in an inactive state. This relationship controls the amount of blood being produced in the body.
The Stowers researchers hope to engineer an environment containing megakaryotes designed to promote the proliferation of hematopoietic stem cells. The ability to increase the activity of these adult stem cells could lead to potential blood-producing cell transplants for patients with dangerously low blood counts, such as those recovering from chemotherapy or organ transplants.
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