The complex dynamics of stem cell tethers and slings

06 October, 2021

An innovative experiment design shows, in real time and at the scale of a single molecule, how stem cells slow their rolling inside the circulatory system by growing long tethers that attach to the inner surfaces of blood vessels. The strategy could help researchers to improve stem cell transplantations and to find new treatments for metastasizing cancers.

Many cells in the human body travel through blood vessels from one organ to another to carry out specific functions. For example, immune cells migrate to inflamed tissue and cancer cells spread to new organs. Stem cells also travel to new locations to develop into different tissues. “This stem cell 'homing,' where cells migrate to their new place of residence, is also essential for successful bone marrow transplantation for treating various diseases,” explains Satoshi Habuchi, who led the study.

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Image: Research conducted at KAUST aims to improve how stem cells move in the body so that they can reach where they are needed following transplantation.
© 2021 KAUST; Anastasia Serin.