Biomedical scientists improve bone marrow transplant methods

Biomedical scientists improve bone marrow transplant methods

Korean biomedical scientists have developed technology that can dramatically improve the stability and efficiency of bone marrow transplant surgery, the science and technology ministry said Thursday.

Kim Gye-seong, a biomedical science professor at Hanyang University’s graduate school of biomedical science and engineering, and his research team have proved that the recovery rate of blood-forming stem cells can be improved by up to 10 times if they are collected under low oxygen pressure.

Patients who have bone marrow problems such as leukemia, need to have healthy bone marrow transplants to be able to produce healthy red blood cells.

“The newly-developed blood-forming stem cell collecting method in a low oxygen environment is a way to dramatically improve bone marrow transplant surgery,” Kim said in a statement.

“This achievement is expected to be a turning point for bone marrow surgery in which there is a chronic shortage of bone marrow.”

Kim has cooperated with Indiana University’s School of Medicine professor Hal Broxmeyer to jointly research the project and other local biomedical scientists.

The previous marrow collection methods exposed cells to the atmosphere, which has on average a 21 percent oxygen level, leading to a negative impact on their function.

Kim and his team said the low oxygen level can prevent this form of damage. The new technology can prevent a loss cells during transplant surgery, the team added.

The team also said the blood-forming cells can be collected more efficiently by processing with an immuno-suppressant called cyclosporine A.

Kim’s research has been supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea and Korea Health Industry Development Institute. The results were published online through the website of the international academic magazine “Cell,” Thursday.

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