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Scientists spot solitary stem cells in living bone marrow

Scientists spot solitary stem cells in living bone marrow

The ability to study undisturbed blood-forming stem cells in their natural environment will help researchers understand how they work, says U-M scientist

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Blood-forming stem cells are a bit like Greta Garbo, according to new research by scientists at Japan’s University of Tsukuba and the University of Michigan Medical School. They want to be alone.

Until now, scientists didn’t know exactly where to find these extremely rare, elusive adult stem cells – the only cells capable of forming all the different types of blood and immune cells found in mammals. Previous research suggested, and most scientists believed, that hematopoietic stem cells were clustered together somewhere in bone marrow.

But a new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online Early Edition provides compelling visual evidence that hematopoietic, or blood-forming, stem cells prefer a solitary life.

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