Stem cell drugs surprise researchers and could lead to better drugs in the future

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Your immune system is always busy fighting incoming threats. It consists of a cell system and, when there is a shortage of cells, it affects the performance of the immune system.

This is seen, for example, in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. This is because chemotherapy is for everyone in your body, including the bone marrow stem cells, which were destined to become new immune cells. This means that the file then it has no cells to fight new infections.

There are medications that can pick up bone marrow stem cells, so they can be returned to patients after treatment. Then they become , allowing the body to once again combat incoming threats. But previously, we had no detailed knowledge of how these drugs worked.

Now, a study in mice by researchers at the University of Copenhagen shows how the drug works at the cellular level and, surprisingly, how one of the two drugs applied and tested is more effective than the other, although the other , on paper, seems to be the more effective of the two. It is possible that this discovery not only helps to improve stem cell transplantation; it can also lead to the improvement of drugs in the future.

“We tested two stem cell transplant drugs that appear to have the same effect. What they do is block a receptor, causing the bone marrow to release stem cells into the blood. What the new study shows “It’s just that it not only blocks the receptor, but one of the two drugs also affects other cell signaling pathways. And in short, that makes it more effective than the other of the two drugs,” says the doctorate. Student Astrid Sissel Jørgensen from the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen.

“Before we believed that all we had to do was block the receptor and that the two drugs had the same effect. Now it looks like there is more,” he says.

The drugs tested by the researchers mobilize stem cells by acting as antagonists of the CXCR4 receptor. This means that they inhibit or reduce receptor activity. Several drugs target this receptor, including drugs that inhibit HIV replication.

“Medications not only block the normal signaling of the receptor. One of the two drugs we have tested also affects some of the other cellular pathways and even causes the receptor to withdraw into the cell and disappear from the surface.” , explains Professor Mette Rosenkilde, who is the corresponding author of the study. The results of the study reveal that one of the two drugs produces the releases more in the blood.

This knowledge about how drugs affect cell pathways differently is also known as skewed signaling. And it is things like this that make one of the drugs more effective in practice than on paper.

According to the researchers, new knowledge about skewed signage challenges our current view of these drugs.

“The results of our study directly influence our view of drugs used for stem cell transplantation. In the long term, however, it may also affect our view of future drugs and how new drugs should be designed to have the best possible effect, both in relation to stem cell mobilization, but also for treating HIV infections, where this particular receptor also plays a major role, ”says Mette Rosenkilde.


Directed elimination of leukemic stem cells


More information:
Astrid S. Jørgensen et al, The skewed action of the drug directed against CXCR4 is essential for its superior mobilization of hematopoietic stem cells, Biology of Communications (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s42003-021-02070-9

Citation: Stem Cell Drugs Surprise Researchers and Could Lead to Better Drugs in the Future (2021, May 28) Retrieved May 28, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-05-stem -cell-drugs-future.html

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