After completing a routine lab experiment, researchers from the University of Virginia School of Medicine observed a unique phenomenon and found an unexpected new way to trigger the production of red blood cells. The team injected mice with the flu virus and an antibody which blocked a certain molecule expressed by dendritic cells. The result observed was the enlargement of the spleens which was replicated in subsequent experiments. It was concluded that they were inducing stress erythropoiesis. The research teams suggests that this discovery could represent a significant milestone in the battle against anemia, and ability to benefit diabetic, kidney disease and cancer patients.
"In the very basic way, what we've discovered is that the process of regulating stress in the body is mediated -- certainly in part, at least -- by these dendritic cells," Dr. Thomas Braciale explained.
"And stress can be a variety of different stresses. It doesn't have to be infection, it doesn't have to be inflammation. It can be anemia. It can be hemorrhage. And these cells act to initiate this response that, until this report, there's been really no evidence that these [dendritic] cells ever participate in making red blood cells."
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Original Publication: Stress-associated erythropoiesis initiation is regulated by type 1 conventional dendritic cells
A personalized method for testing the effectiveness of drugs that treat multiple myeloma may predict quickly and more accurately the best treatments for individual patients with the bone marrow cancer. The process, developed by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, may also aid patients with leukemia or lymphoma. The method relies on 3-D tissue-engineered bone marrow (3DTEBM) cultures that Dr Adbel Azab and his colleagues developed using myeloma patients’ bone marrow samples. To more closely mimic outside the body what goes on within, scientists took small samples of a patient’s cells (cancerous and benign) and remodeled them in the lab. This tumor “microenvironment” includes the cancer cells and other neighbouring blood vessels, immune cells and other components whose interaction can help or inhibit the tumor cells’ growth. Drugs were then tested on the remodeled patient cells to determine which treatment is likely to be most effective. The screening method suggests which commonly prescribed multiple myeloma drug, or combination of drugs, a physician should consider first for a particular patient. The test also suggests optimum dosage.
Abstract: 3D tissue-engineered bone marrow as a novel model to study pathophysiology and drug resistance in multiple myeloma