The growth and differentiation of haemopoietic cells in the bone marrow (BM) is regulated by complex interactions between the cells and their surrounding microenvironment. In highly organized compartments known as “niches”, complex cell-to-cell, cell-to-extracellular matrix and cell-to-cytokine interactions regulate the fate of HSCs in terms of self-renewal, differentiation, proliferation or apoptosis. Abnormal interaction may lead to profound BM failure or even to clonal haemopoiesis. The majority of the haemopoiesis supporting stromal cells derive from a distinct progenitor, namely the MSC. Interestingly, this cell is emerging as a novel therapeutic tool in regenerative medicine due to its potential to generate cells of varying lineages and to distinct immune-regulatory properties.
We are interested in:
- Characterizing the reserves and functional characteristics of BM-derived HSCs and MSCs in BM failure syndromes and lymphoproliferative diseases with special interest in myelodysplastic and hypoplastic syndromes, chronic idiopathic neutropenia and low grade lymphomas.
- Identifying differences between BM and Wharton Jelly derived MSCs in terms of the molecular and functional properties including the capacity to proliferate and differentiate in biomaterials towards osteocytes and chondrocytes for applications in regenerative medicine.
- Investigating the implication of aberrant immune cell populations such as T-cells with skewed T-cell receptor Vβ repertoire profile and myeloid derived suppressor cells, in the pathogenesis of BM failure syndromes.
- Studying the therapeutic application of autologous BM-derived MSCs, under GMP conditions, in degenerative diseases.
Our research has been funded by grants of EU FP6 (Genostem) and FP7 (Transpot), Ministries of Education and Development of Hellas, University of Crete Research Secretariat, Association for International Cancer Research (AICR, UK), COST, and Pharmaceutical Companies.