Regulation of normal and leukemic human stem cells

Prof. Tsvee Lapidot, Department of Immunology

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Prof. Lapidot and his team are primarily focused on the activities and regulation of blood-forming (hematopoietic) stem cells. One of his projects involves an international collaboration sponsored by the European Research Council (ERC).

The project’s focus is on pediatric gene therapy for children with mutated genes. The idea is to replace the faulty gene with a normal gene obtained from blood-forming stem cells present in umbilical cord blood by way of transplantation.

Prof. Lapidot’s role in this international project is to improve the function of blood-forming stem cells by increasing their migration and repopulation potential in transplanted children.

In parallel, his team is investigating leukemic human stem cells obtained from newly diagnosed patients. These include pediatric patients with childhood pre-B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common leukemia in children.

His team has already identified specific elements in leukemic stem cells that initiate and maintain the disease. The scientists are currently investigating these elements in order to develop selective therapies against the malignant stem cells while sparing the healthy ones.