[Cite as http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/298903]
A/Pr Stephen Wood
Prof Richard D'Andrea
Brief description Haemopoietic stem cells (HSC) are currently the best characterised adult stem cell (SC) population and currently the only SC population used in cellular therapy. Adult HSC reside in the bone marrow and it is generally accepted that these rare cells cycle slowly and maintain themselves by a process involving self renewal. The cellular physiology that underlies HSC self renewal is still to be defined and no single factor has been described which is able to induce substantial proliferation and expansion of HSC in a defined system while maintaining critical stem cell properties. Like other SC, a critical characteristic of the rare HSC population of cells is their ability to maintain their unique stem cell properties in vivo (the process of self-renewal) while generating more committed cells which will form large numbers of differentiated and specialized mature blood cells. Recent evidence that HSC can repair other organs under some circumstances raises the possibility that this adult SC population could provide an alternative to embryonic stem cells for many stem cell therapies. If this is the case the therapeutic application of HSC becomes significantly broader. Critical to development of such applications will be an understanding of HSC self renewal and development and new approaches to expand this limited cell population. Major progress in this area will require the definition of both the intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms that control HSC maintenance and self-renewal. Any findings in this area will have major clinical significance and be of enormous benefit to the community. Here we focus on the role of a known intrinsic regulator of SC behaviour (beta-catenin) with the aim of establishing its role in the maintenance of HSC and its regulation by a novel cofactor (FAM). We will determine if the level of beta-catenin is critical in the maintenance and-or differentiation of haemopoietic stem cells and what role FAM plays in this regulation.
Funding Amount $AUD 506,500.00
Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants
Standard Project Grant