Blood Journal
Leading the way in experimental and clinical research in hematology

Normal and leukemic SCID-repopulating cells (SRC) coexist in the bone marrow and peripheral blood from CML patients in chronic phase, whereas leukemic SRC are detected in blast crisis

  1. C Sirard,
  2. T Lapidot,
  3. J Vormoor,
  4. JD Cashman,
  5. M Doedens,
  6. B Murdoch,
  7. N Jamal,
  8. H Messner,
  9. L Addey,
  10. M Minden,
  11. P Laraya,
  12. A Keating,
  13. A Eaves,
  14. PM Lansdorp,
  15. CJ Eaves, and
  16. JE Dick
  1. Department of Genetics, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Progress in understanding the abnormal regulation of hematopoiesis in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) would be facilitated if neoplastic cells, at all stages of the disease, could be studied in an animal model. In this report, we show that irradiated severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice can be transplanted with both normal (Philadelphia chromosome [Ph]-negative) and neoplastic (Ph+) cells from CML patients with either chronic or blast phase disease. Mice transplanted with peripheral blood (PB) or bone marrow (BM) cells from 9 of 12 chronic phase CML patients were well engrafted with human cells including multilineage colony-forming progenitors and CD34+ cells for at least 90 days posttransplantation. Repeated posttransplant injections of cytokines did not enhance the number of engrafted human cells. Interestingly, approximately 70% of the human progenitors found in the engrafted SCID BM were Ph-, suggesting that the growth of primitive normal cells is favored in this in vivo transplant model. A similar number of normal cells were found in mice transplanted with either PB or BM cells, suggesting that elevated numbers of primitive normal cells are present in CML PB. When cells from patients with CML in either myeloid or lymphoid blast crisis were transplanted into SCID mice, the BM of these mice was more rapidly repopulated and to a higher level than that observed with transplants of chronic phase cells. Moreover, all human colony-forming progenitors present in the BM of mice transplanted with blast crisis cells were Ph+, and the majority of cells showed the same morphological features of the blast crisis cells originally transplanted. These experiments provide a starting point for the creation of an animal model of CML and establish the feasibility of using this model for the future characterization of transplantable CML stem cells during disease progression.