Stem Cells From Blood Sample


Scientists at Cambridge University in the UK have found a way to make stem cells out of blood. An article in the university's Research News section says that the discovery increases "the hope that scientists could one day use stem cells made from patients’ own cells to treat cardiovascular disease."  The research was in the journal Stem Cells: Translational Medicine.

The study outlines a method in which scientists can get the cells they need to make "induced pluripotent stem cells" from a routine blood sample. Until now, researchers have not been able to locate an appropriate cell in blood that could be turned into a stem cell. Instead, they have made, and often make cells from skin or other tissues, which can require a surgical procedure such as a biopsy.

Dr Amer Rana and his colleagues at the University of Cambridge grew patients’ blood in the lab and isolated what are known as "late outgrowth endothelial progenitor cells." The Research News article quotes Dr. Rana as saying

“We are excited to have developed a practical and efficient method to create stem cells from a cell type found in blood. Tissue biopsies are undesirable – particularly for children and the elderly – whereas taking blood samples is routine for all patients.Researchers can freeze and store the blood cells, and then turn them into iPS cells at a later stage, rather than having to transform them as soon as they are sourced, as is the case for other cell types used previously. This will have tremendous practical value – prolonging the ‘use by date’ of patient samples.”

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