Harvard Med School Researchers Help Direct Stem Cells

Jeffrey Karp | Via Boston Business Journal | October 31, 2011

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and other hospitals have taken a step toward making stem cell therapies more effective by adding homing receptors to those cells.

Attaching the chemical receptors to stem cells has the potential to increase the concentration of cells at target locations in the body, according to the researchers, who published their findings in the journal Blood. The development was reported by Brigham and Women’s in a press release.

“The central hypothesis of our work is that the ability of cells to home to specific tissues can be enhanced, without otherwise altering cell function,” said corresponding author Jeffrey M. Karp, PhD, co-director of the Regenerative Therapeutics Center at BWH and a principal faculty member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute in the press release. “By knowing the ‘zip code’ of the blood vessels in specific tissues, we can program the ‘address’ onto the surface of the cells to potentially target them with high efficiencies.”