Optimising stem cell transplantation

Dr Steven Lane

Researcher Dr Steven Lane
Institute QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
Project title New ways to optimise stem cell transplantation
Disease focus Blood cancers
Annual funding from us $100,000
Funding period 2014

A discovery by researchers from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane could lead to the development of new drugs to improve the viability of stem cell transplants in blood cancer patients.

In preliminary research in collaboration with QIMR Berghofer’s Professor Geoff Hill and Dr Kelli MacDonald, the researchers found a completely new pathway used by cells to stimulate granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF). G-CSF is a protein produced by the body that stimulates the bone marrow to produce stem cells and release them into the blood stream.

Clinicians administer a synthetic version of G-CSF to mobilise blood stem cells into the blood stream so that they can be harvested for transplantation. However, the therapy isn’t effective in all patients, especially if they’ve already had chemotherapy.

Complex and dynamic process

QIMR Berghofer Translational Leukaemia Research Laboratory Team Head, Dr Steven Lane, is collaborating with Professor Hill and Dr MacDonald to investigate the newly discovered pathway.

“Blood stem cell mobilisation is a complex and dynamic process,” said Dr Lane.

“The QIMR Berghofer discovery is important because it will lead to a much clearer understanding of blood stem cell mobilisation and, critically, through this project could lead to the trial of a new treatment in patients.”

The team is also looking at possible new agents that could be used, either alone or as a combination therapy with G-CSF, to stimulate the pathway and increase blood stem cell mobilisation.

This is the third Leukaemia Foundation Grant-In-Aid awarded to projects led by Dr Lane (also 2013 and 2012).

Dr Steven Lane’s other projects

The Leukaemia Foundation has also funded other research projects led by Dr Lane.

» New treatments for acute leukaemia

» Targeting stem cells in myeloproliferative disorders

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