Researchers at the Center for Childhood Cancer Research led by Timothy Olson, MD, PhD, are conducting basic research into mechanisms that govern hematopoietic engraftment after stem cell transplantation for cancer and non-malignant genetic disorders.
Molecular requirements for efficient hematopoietic cell engraftment are currently being assessed in transgenic mouse models. These mouse models have aberrant expression of growth factors thought to regulate interactions between stem cells and the surrounding bone marrow environment.
Additionally, mouse models of human inherited bone marrow failure syndromes are currently being studied to determine whether defective function of the bone marrow microenvironment contributes to the onset of hematopoietic failure and efficiency of engraftment following stem cell transplantation in these genetic conditions.
The overarching goal of this research is to identify cellular and molecular targets for pharmacotherapeutic intervention that will enhance the durability and efficiency of engraftment following stem cell transplantation. These studies of stem cell interactions with the bone marrow microenvironment may thus provide the necessary underpinnings for future clinical trials designed to improve treatment success rates for patients with certain cancers and inherited genetic disorders that require hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for curative therapy.