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URMC / Labs / Aljitawi Lab / Projects



Studying umbilical cord blood (UCB) CD34+ cell interaction with erythropoietin (EPO) as a soluble factor in UCB transplantation

The Aljitawi lab has been investigating EPO signaling through EPO receptor (EPOR) effects on UCB CD34+ cell homing and engraftment. Dr. Aljitawi and his research team discovered that exposure to erythropoietin impairs UCB CD34+ cell homing to the bone marrow. To translate this finding to patient care, Dr. Aljitawi and his research team investigated the use of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) as a modality to lower systemic EPO with the aim of improving UCB CD34+ cell homing and engraftment. This work in its entirety was recently published in Blood, and there are several ongoing clinical trials at different stage for HBO treatments. 

Studying erythropoietin (EPO) signaling through its receptor, EPOR in UCB CD34+ cells

The Aljitawi lab has found that RasGRP3 plays a role in EPO signaling through EPOR in UCB CD34+ cells. Currently, we are exploring RasGRP3's effects on UCB CD34+ cells in vitro and in vivo.

Using Wharton's jelly decellularized matrix as a 3-D model to study cancer-matrix interactions and hematopoietic stem cell-matrix interactions

Since decellularized Wharton's jelly matrix mimics the bone marrow matrix, we are using this matrix to expand UCB CD34+ cells with improved homing capabilities. Also, we use this matrix to study leukemia-matrix interactions with focus on generating leukemia cells that are resistant to chemotherapy effects. In addition, in collaboration with Dr. Van Veldhuizen, we are studying prostate cancer-matrix interactions.