New Master Control Gene Method Could Regulate Human Blood Stem Cells
November 12, 2012 9:44 AM
The researchers have expanded the stem cells while keeping their identity intact
A team of Canadian scientists has found a master control gene for stem cells that can be controlled and used for clinical use.
Dr. Eric Lechman, study leader from Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI), along with Dr. John Dick, a Senior Scientist at University Health Network's McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine and OCI, have discovered the master control gene for
This new master control gene could act as a way of regulating human blood stem cells. According to Lechman, they removed a master control gene (microRNA 126) that oversees and controls the expression of hundreds of other genes by silencing them. By silencing them, they are unable to divide.
In the study, excess numbers of microRNA 126 binding sites were added
to the stem cells
using a viral vector, and the virus absorbed specific microRNA 126 in the cells. This made other genes, which are normally silenced, become conspicuous. From there, long-term expansion of the blood stem cells was possible "without exhaustion or malignant transformation."
"For the first time in human blood stem cells, we have established that a new class of non-coding RNA called miRNA represents a new tactic for manipulating these cells, which opens the door to expanding them for therapeutic uses," said Dick.
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