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Ex vivo glycan engineering of CD44 programs human multipotent mesenchymal stromal cell trafficking to bone

The HCELL glycoform of confers tropism to bone, as scientists of Harvard University found out. They discovered a readily translatable roadmap for programming cellular trafficking by chemical engineering of glycans on a distinct membrane .

Human multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs, also termed 'mesenchymal stem cells') cannot express ligands, but they do express a glycoform with alpha-2,3-sialyl modifications. The Harvard scientists converted the native glycoform on MSCs into hematopoietic cell / ligand (HCELL6). HCELL6 was able to potently bind without effecting cell viability or multipotency. Intravenously infused HCELL+ MSCs were observed to infiltrate bone marrow within hours of infusion. Rare foci of endosteally localised cells and human osteoid generation followed the infiltration.

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