News Release

Adult bone marrow stem cells can become blood vessels

Peer-Reviewed Publication

University of Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL--Researchers at the University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute (SCI) have demonstrated, for the first time, the ability of adult bone marrow stem cells to expand in vitro as endothelial cells (which line blood- and lymphatic vessels) and then engraft in vivo and contribute to new growth of blood vessels (neoangiogenesis). The findings will be published in the February 1, 2002 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

"These lab results demonstrate the potential of adult bone marrow stem cells to differentiate beyond mesenchymal cells, into cells of the endothelium," said Catherine Verfaillie, M.D., director of the University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute and author of the research. "What we have seen is the ability of these cells to feed the blood vessels of tumors and to heal the blood vessels surrounding wounds. The findings suggest that these adult stem cells may be an ideal source of cells for clinical therapy. For example, we can envision the use of these stem cells for therapies against cancer tumors by, for instance, introducing anti-angiogenesis genes. Or, they could be used to heal wounds such as ulcers or diabetic wounds or to treat atherosclerosis."

Verfaillie and her colleagues announced late last year that these cells, called multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPCs), demonstrate the potential to differentiate beyond mesenchymal cells, into cells of the visceral mesodermal origin, such as endothelium, and may be capable of differentiating into nonmesodermal cell types, such as neurons, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and liver.


The paper can be found at

The objective of the Stem Cell Institute is to further our understanding of the potential of stem cells to improve human and animal health. The SCI is a part of the University of Minnesota's Academic Health Center and is an interdisciplinary center with member faculty representing a diverse group of university schools, colleges and centers. For online information about the University of Minnesota's Stem Cell Institute, go to


Catherine Verfaillie, M.D., director, University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute

Sarah Youngerman, Academic Health Center, (612) 624-4604

Brenda Hudson, Academic Health Center, (612) 624-5680

Deane Morrison, University News Service, (612) 624-2346

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