Bone marrow transplantation is used to treat blood cancers such as leukemia. Chemotherapy eliminates the patient’s existing bone marrow cells as well as residual cancer cells in the body before receiving new donor-derived cells. Aside from the chemotherapy’s toxicity, the transplants don’t always work, as the donor cells sometimes fail to engraft within the patient’s bone marrow or the cancer cells are not completely eliminated and overtake the donor cells.
To improve transplant safety and efficacy, Dr. Blaser is using a zebrafish model to identify factors that promote successful engraftment and has already identified two molecules that help stem cells enter and expand in the bone marrow. Now, he’s working to understand more about how these molecules work and then develop strategies that improve stem cell transplants for humans.
I believe that the work that I have been performing with funds provided by CRI will contribute to this important body of knowledge and I hope that it will develop into new therapies for transplant patients. Without the CRI, this work would not have been possible.
Projects and Grants
Immunologic regulation of hematopoietic stem cell engraftment
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute | Leukemia | 2014 | Leonard I. Zon, M.D.
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