The amino acid Valine has just been found to be a key factor in the formation of blood stem cells. In a recent study by researchers at Stanford University and the University of Tokyo mice deprived of this amino acid for two to four weeks completely stopped making new blood cells. It was found that Valine plays a key role in forming blood cells in humans as well. This finding could have major implications for transplant and leukemia patients. If deprived of protein before a bone marrow transplant, the deprivation would have the same effect the pre transplant chemotherapy has on these patients, killing/stopping all of their blood cells from forming to prepare them for their transplanted blood cells. The head researchers in this study also think that depriving leukemia patients of valine could kill of the cells that are causing their cancers. Deprivation of valine can be achieved from depriving patients of protein through an IV infused diet. Research has to be done to find out how long humans would have to be deprived of valine to completely stop their blood stem cell formation to see if it is a viable option to keep patients on an IV infused diet for the length of time necessary.
The deprivation of Valine could also be used to consider new candidates for bone marrow transplant, like pregnant women, who are not generally candidates because of the pre transplant use of chemotherapy.