May 24, 2024

Canadian researchers turn adult human skin cells directly to blood cells

Researchers dodge tumour risk

Canadian scientists have morphed human skin
cells into blood cells, converting one kind of mature human cell into another
for the first time, the journal Nature has reported. The change was conducted
without the intermediate step of rewinding the skin cells into flexible
pluripotent stem cells. Researchers believe that skipping the pluripotent step
dodges the risk that replacement cells might form dangerous tumours.

The report states the team produced blood
progenitor cells, that is, mother cells that multiply to produce other cells,
as well as mature blood cells. Both could be useful in medical treatments,
according to study leader Mick Bhatia, a stem cell scientist at McMaster
University in Hamilton, Ontario. “There is a great need for alternative sources
of human blood,” Bhatia said. “Since this source would come from a patient’s
own skin, there would be no concern of rejection of the transplanted cells.” ~ Los Angeles
Times, Nov 7

Jared Yee
stem cells