Innovative method delivers new insights into the stem cell microenvironment | 9/19/2019 | Staff
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Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany, have developed new methods to reveal the three-dimensional organization of bone marrow at a single-cell level. Since bone marrow harbors blood stem cells responsible for lifelong blood generation, these results and the new method provide a novel scientific basis to study blood cancer. The results have been published in Nature Cell Biology.

In the published study, the group, led by researchers from EMBL and the DKFZ, present new methods that permit them to characterize complex organs. The team focused their research on the bone marrow of mice, as it harbors blood stem cells that are responsible for lifelong blood production. Because of the ability to influence stem cells and to sustain blood production, there is a growing interest in exploiting the bone marrow environment as a target for novel leukemia treatments.

Cells - Bone - Marrow - Chiara - Baccin

"So far, very little was known about how different cells are spatially organized within the bone marrow and how they interact with each other," explains Chiara Baccin, a post-doc in the Steinmetz Group at EMBL Heidelberg. The new methods permitted the team to uncover the cellular composition, the three-dimensional organization and how the cells interact with each other. In the process, the researchers have identified previously unknown cell types, so-called "niche cells," that are of great importance for the regulation of blood stem cells.

In order to understand which cells can be found in the bone marrow, where they are localized, and how they might impact on stem cells, the researchers combined single-cell and spatial transcriptomics with novel...
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