UCLA researchers unlock protein key to harnessing regenerative power of blood stem cells

In this study, the authors showed that a cell surface protein called protein tyrosine phosphatase-sigma (PTP-sigma) regulates the critical process called engraftment, which is how HSCs start to grow and make healthy blood cells after transplantation. Mamle Quarmyne, a graduate student Chute’s lab and first author of the study, demonstrated that PTP-sigma is produced (expressed) on a high percentage of mouse and human HSCs. She showed further that genetic deletion of PTP-sigma in mice markedly increased the ability of HSCs to engraft in transplanted mice.  In a complementary study, Quarmyne demonstrated that selection of human blood HSCs which did not express PTP-sigma led to a 15-fold increase in HSC engraftment in transplanted immune-deficient mice. Taken together, these studies showed that PTP-sigma suppresses normal HSC engraftment capacity and targeted blocking of PTP-sigma can substantially improve mouse and human HSC engraftment after transplantation. Chute and colleagues showed further that PTP-sigma regulates HSC function by suppressing a protein, RAC1, which is known to promote HSC engraftment after transplantation.    “These findings have tremendous therapeutic potential since we have identified a new receptor on HSCs, PTP-sigma, which can be specifically targeted as a means to potently increase the engraftment of transplanted HSCs in patients,” said Chute, senior author of the study and professor of hematology/oncology and...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

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(NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) A Phase 1 clinical trial examining whether a topical cream can enhance the immune response conferred by a 'pre-pandemic' influenza vaccine is underway at Baylor College of Medicine, a Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU) funded by NIAID. Investigators are evaluating whether imiquimod cream, commonly used to treat genital warts and certain skin cancers, can boost the body's immune response to an H5N1 influenza vaccine. The trial is enrolling 50 healthy adults ages 18-50 years.
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