We aim to see if blood cells made in the laboratory have the same properties as those isolated from bone marrow – that is, they can re-create the whole blood system and continue to do this for extended periods of time. To do this, we are transplanting our human pluripotent stem cell differentiated haematopoietic stem cells into 10-12-week immunocompromised mice. We then monitor the mice for the appearance of human blood cells in the circulation and in the bone marrow and spleen.
Bone marrow transplantation is crucial for treating children with blood cancers like leukemia. Chemotherapy destroys both cancerous and healthy blood cells, necessitating replacement with donor cells, usually from a matched sibling. These donor cells contain stem cells that regenerate the entire blood system. However, finding a fully matched donor is often challenging, leading to higher risks of graft versus host disease. To overcome this, a project aims to create blood stem cells in the lab from pluripotent stem cells, offering an alternative that avoids donor-related issues and reduces graft versus host complications.
Dr Gulcan Sarila has been working on the animal transplantation study over the last 3 years.
Human cells shown in red in a mouse bone marrow shown in orange
Dr Gulcan Sarila, from Blood Development, Andrew Elefanty’s Lab