Successful transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) requires both the homing and engraftment of stem cells to the bone marrow, two processes that may not be very efficient and force a need for large numbers of HSCs for transplantation. To date, is has been unclear whether these processes can be artificially enhanced. Now, a study in the August 13 Science reveals that the inhibition or genetic deletion of the peptidase CD26 on donor stem cells increases transplantation efficiency, a result that suggests this method may prove useful for the clinical improvement of bone marrow transplants.

The research grew out of over a decade of study on the clinical use of umbilical cord blood as a source of HSCs, according to senior author Hal Broxmeyer, from the Indiana University School of Medicine and senior author of the Science study. Broxmeyer was part of the original research team that first used...

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