October 17, 2022


October 17, 2022

Advancements & Research: Stem Cell Transplant for Leukemia

Get the latest advancements in stem cell research each month. This month, we explore how stem cells may soon become a treatment for leukemia.

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Although relatively new on the medical scene, stem cells continuously prove their potential to revolutionize treating diseases and injuries. Every month, we will dive into recent research so you can gain deeper insight into stem cells' healing capabilities.

Stem cells may soon become a treatment for leukemia

The study:

Loss of miR-31-5p drives hematopoietic stem cell malignant transformation and restoration eliminates leukemia stem cells in mice

Published on: on 26 January 2022

Overview of the study:

Leukemia stem cells originate from hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), but researchers don't know precisely how. In the study, Zhu and colleagues identified the microRNA miR-31-5p as a regulator of hematopoietic stem cell energy metabolism.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules (structurally similar to DNA but most often single-stranded) that regulate gene translation through silencing or degradation of target mRNAs. mRNA degradation is the process of eliminating mRNA that is either no longer required or has abnormal features.

Loss of the microRNA miR-31-5p led to metabolic oxidization, accumulation of fumaric acid (or salts), and the development of leukemia stem cells.

On the other hand, research finds that the ectopic expression of miR-31-5p eliminated leukemia stem cells. Encapsulated miR-31-5p and cytosine arabinoside (a type of chemotherapy drug) reduced disease progression and improved survival in mice with patient-derived acute myeloid Leukemia, suggesting miR-31-5p may be a potential therapy.

In simpler terms:

In simpler terms—hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) have a microRNA miR-31-5p, which, if lost, can result in the development of Leukemia stem cells. And the ectopic expression of the same microRNA eliminates those Leukemia stem cells. Also, the encapsulated microRNA and chemotherapy medication can reduce the disease's progression and improve survival in mice with a form of Leukemia.

Why this study is significant: 

Hematopoietic stem cells contain important microRNA that can eliminate leukemia stem cells. Although it's still mouse-based research, now that researchers have these significant results, more and more studies will take place so that this process can be very soon transformed into a treatment for people with patient-derived acute myeloid Leukemia.

Hematopoietic stem cells can be found in several organs, such as peripheral blood, bone marrow, and umbilical cord blood. If you want your HSCs to be safely stored to secure your baby's health—you can get your stem cell collection kit here!

Was this interesting to you? You can learn more on our Science Page, and stay tuned for more stem cell research next month.

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