Novel method to harvest stem cells developed

Sydney, March 16 (IANS) Scientists have developed a new method for harvesting stem cells, which is less invasive and reduces side effects for donors.

The new method eliminates the need for the patient to take growth factor injections to increase cell numbers before a transplant.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, showed that when these harvested cells are transplanted, they can replenish the entire bone marrow system.

Also the risks of side effects like bone pain and spleen enlargement, have been significantly reduced, the researchers explained.

“We’re looking forward to seeing patients benefit from this discovery,” said one of the researchers Peter Currie, professor at Monash University in Australia.

The method combines a newly discovered molecule (known as BOP), with an existing type of molecule (AMD3100) to mobilise the stem cells found in bone marrow out into the blood stream.

The team demonstrated that combining the two molecules directly impacts stem cells so they can be seen in the blood stream within an hour of a single dosage.

“Current treatment requires the patient to have growth factor injections for several days leading up to the procedure,” said Susie Nilsson, researcher at The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia.

“Using the new method eliminates the need for this, meaning a procedure that once took days can be reduced to around an hour,” Nilsson added.

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