Canadian researchers at McMaster University make groundbreaking discovery about stem cells

August 29, 2019 – After spending years studying stem cells, a Canadian research team from McMaster University made a groundbreaking discovery simply by asking a question that no one had asked before.

The team observed that stem cells grow in circles, with a group of cells inside the circle and another group forming a ring around the outside edge. "We started asking the question, what the heck is the edge? ... We thought to ourselves that maybe the cells that were in the barrier — the fence, if you will, between the outside cells and the inside cells — maybe they were special”, said Mick Bhatia, the director of McMaster’s Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute.

Armed with a $100,000 grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Bhatia’s team found that the outer ring cells act as ‘founder’ cells that direct how other stem cells develop and grow. The implications of this finding for cancer research are exciting, and McMaster is working now with scientists from Harvard and a group in Australia to tap its potential.

Read the article in The Hamilton Spectator: McMaster University researchers discover “kingpin” of human stem cells.

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