Scientists convert skin cells into blood cells - directly!

blood cells

7 November 2010

One day, we hope we will be able to repair our damaged body parts from our own cells.
Scientists are able to convert adult skin cells into adult blood cells directly, reported here today at the respectable science journal, Nature.

This is a significant breakthrough.  Up to now, the procedure is first to convert skill cells into stem cells, and then to convert stem cells to blood cells.  The thinking behind this is that in future, the pluripotent stem cells can then be converted into many other types of cells (blood cells, bone cells etc).

However, the resultant blood cells from causes diseases when injected into experimental rats.

Mick Bhatia, scientific director of McMaster's Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, and his team of researchers have shown that the conversion is direct.

This research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, the Stem Cell Network and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

"We have shown this works using human skin. We know how it works and believe we can even improve on the process," said Bhatia. "We'll now go on to work on developing other types of human cell types from skin, as we already have encouraging evidence."

Read more here, here, and here.

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