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Growing Stem Cells to Save Lives


The C7 technology developed by the joint research team has the ability to expand blood stem cells while they maintain their quality and function as stem cells (from L-R: Prof William Hwang and Prof Christina Chai (NUS), Assoc Prof Gigi Chiu (NUS), Dr Zhong Qixing (A*STAR) and Dr Sudipto Bari (NCCS))

 

Blood cancer patients will be able to speed up their recovery after undergoing cell therapy, with the help of a lab synthesised compound that can increase the number of stem cells. Professor William Hwang, Medical Director of the National Cancer Centre Singapore, shares more about this novel technology.

Patients with blood cancer such as leukaemia and lymphomas have abnormal stem cells in their bone marrow, and these can sometimes be treated with drugs and chemotherapy. 

In cases that require strong doses of chemotherapy, this can wipe out normal cells in the patients’ bone marrow, so they are provided with fresh blood stem cells to repopulate the marrow. 

Professor William Hwang, who has close to 25 years of experience in stem cell therapy and transplantation, explains that after the patients are given blood stem cells, it takes some time before the new cells can grow into a ‘garden’ of different cells, such as red and white blood cells.

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