McMaster University researchers discovered how an RNA-binding protein regulates self-renewal capacity of cord blood stem cells.
Human umbilical cord blood was once discarded as medical waste, but is now known to be a rich source of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Cord blood stem cells can be potentially used in the treatment of various diseases of the blood, including cancer and other genetic disorders. However, as with other HSC sources, the total number of functional and engraftable stem cells still remains the limiting variable that strongly impacts transplantation success. Identifying methods for robust expansion of HSCs is necessary to generate an inexhaustible source of stem cells for use in regenerative medicine.