New insight into bone marrow deficiences by UC Science Today

If you suffer from deficiencies in the bone marrow, a tissue in our body that produces blood cells, your lungs can come to the rescue. That’s according Mark Looney, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

“It is curious that when patients get a bone marrow transplant or a stem cell transplant, those cells are given intravenously and the first place that they go is the lung. So it could be that the lung is part of a cycle here that is necessary for the maturation of these cells and their normal function”.

In his recent study Looney discovered that about 50 percent of platelets are produced directly in the lungs, inside the cells called megakaryocytes. So how will this finding help patients?

“Perhaps we can come up with a strategy where we give them megakaryocytes transfusions, and then we put them back in to the vein and they do their natural thing, they go back to the lung and there they produce platelets.”

That could be a new way of treatment for patients with a low level of platelets.