Two teams of researchers brought science significantly closer to achieving a breakthrough. They consider that medicine is now one step closer to being able to produce unlimited supplies of blood cells. Also, this is all thanks to the patient’s own stem cells.
Personalized Blood Cells Developed from Stem Cells
The teams were able to create personalized blood cells based on the patient’s extracted stem cells. However, each study took a slightly different approach. Nonetheless, they could both help revolutionize future treatments.
This type of cells could be used as a therapy for people that require frequent or constant blood transfusions. It could also be useful in treating patients that have bone marrow disorders so that they will no longer have to depend on finding and matching with a healthy donor.
Scientists began working with stem cells in producing new blood cells starting with 2006, following the induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) breakthrough. Stem cells are produced and programmed by the body to transform into other useful cells.
The studies set out the following target. They will try to extract a patient’s own stem cell and then convert them into iPS cells. From there, these will be programmed to form new blood cells. This would result in an unlimited supply of blood, without having to depend on any donor.
Besides the limitless blood supply, this new method could also offer a treatment opportunity for people with genetic blood disorders.
“This step opens up an opportunity to take cells from patients with genetic blood disorders, use gene editing to correct their genetic defect and make functional blood cells,” stated Rio Sugimura. He is a specialist part of one of the new studies at the Boston Children’s Hospital.
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