A new technique that allows blood to be made directly from skin cells has been discovered.
The pioneering approach by Canadian researchers uses human skin stem cells to create blood stem cells without an intermediate step that previously was thought necessary.
Until now to make blood stem cells, the building blocks for a variety human cells (called pluripotent stem cells) have been used as a steppingstone a process. This has proven largely inefficient, but research led by Mick Bhatia, scientific director of McMaster’s Stem Cell and Cancer Research Instituteat the Michael G DeGroote School of Medicine, has shown that making blood from skin can be achieved in a one step process.
Cynthia Dunbar, head of the molecular hematopoiesis at the U.S National Institutes of Health said: “Bhatia’s approach detours around the pluripotent stem cell stage and thus avoids many safety issues, increases efficiency, and also has the major benefit of producing adult-type l blood cells instead of fetal blood cells, a major advantage compared to the thus far disappointing attempts to produce blood cells from human embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent stem cells.”
The discovery was replicated several times over two years using human skin from both the young and the elderly to prove it works for any age of person.