Some of the common clinical applications of hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplantation are used for treatment of leukemic malignancies, bone marrow/hematopoietic failure, and immunodeficiencies. Several inherent limitations of this procedure have restricted its use, including failed recipient bone marrow recovery and tumor relapse. Experimentally, ex-vivo manipulations and in-vivo xenotransplant assays used as clinical surrogates of HSC transplantation aim to improve quality and number of donor cells by uncovering the cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling HSC proliferation and differentiation upon transplantation.
One of the major research goals in hematopoietic stem cell transplant biology is the manipulation of factors affecting self-renewal, mobilization, and homing/retention of donor cells in the recipient. Transgenic systems in the mouse are frequently used as tools to dissect the individual pathways that influence these properties. Recently, identification of factors and chemicals that target HSCs or their ‘niche’, a supportive microenvironment for these stem cells in the bone marrow, has become a new avenue of interest to develop a novel therapeutic approach for enhancing HSC repopulation ability and engraftment efficiency.
This review focuses on recent progress in HSC ex-vivo manipulation and transplant biology, and the potential improvements arising from identification of molecular players and cellular components of the microenvironment niche.
Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute (SCC-RI) and Department of Biochemistry, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Correspondence to Dr Mickie Bhatia, Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute (SCC-RI), Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University, 1200 Main Street West, MDCL 5029, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5 Tel: +1 905 525 9140 ext 28687; e-mail: email@example.com