The strength of a patient's immune system could have a major bearing on the success of any transplant surgery.
New research from the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology at the Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California found that T-cells were responsible for controlling the growth of transplanted stem cells.
"Normally, T-cells protect us from infection, but they can block healthy regeneration from happening," said Professor Songtao Shi, who authored the study.
Doctors explained that the regulatory role of T-cells was previously unknown and should instigate a shift in stem cell research to the function of the immune system.
According to the National Cancer Institute, hematopoietic stem cells are found in a person's bone marrow but mature into blood cells.
The transplant of bone marrow stem cells can be used to restore the body's ability to produce the cells after high dosages of radiation from chemotherapy and radiotherapy.