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  (Source: topnews.in)
Research could help those with cancer or anemia

McMaster University researchers from Hamilton, Ontario have found a way to create blood directly from skin without having to change a skin stem cell into a pluripotent stem cell. 

Dr. Mick Bhatia, study leader and scientific director of McMaster's Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, along with his team, have created blood directly from human skin in an effort to treat medical conditions such as anemia and cancer. The new technique can also use the blood in surgery from the patients' own skin without having to perform the intermediate step of transforming a human skin cell into a pluripotent stem cell

To do this, Bhatia and his team obtained skin fibroblasts, which is a type of cell that gives skin its form through the "scaffolding" of connective tissues. Once the skin fibroblasts were taken from volunteers, researchers then inserted the gene for OCT4 into the cells using a virus, and grew them in an "infusion of cytokines," which are signaling proteins that stimulate the immune system and communicate between cells. Usually, researchers have to transform a skin stem cell into a pluripotent stem cell before turning it into a blood stem cell, but this new research eliminates the middle step and converts skin cells directly into blood cells. 

"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 ESCs [embryonic stem cells] or IPSCs [induced pluripotent stem cells]," said Cynthia Dunbar, head of the Molecular Hematopoiesis Section of the Hematology Branch of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in the National Institutes of Health in the United States.  

Bhatia and his team worked on the study for two years. It is the first study to show direct conversion to a stem cell, and also the first to show direct conversion from skin cells to other types of human cells. Bhatia's study used young and old volunteers to show that age did not matter in the study.

"We have shown this works using human skin," 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."

This study was published in Nature on November 7. 



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Sweet
By Breathless on 11/8/2010 1:31:55 PM , Rating: 5
They need to kick this shizzle bizzle into high gear so that people like my wife who have bone marrow diseases can avoid the bone marrow transplant route :)




RE: Sweet
By excrucio on 11/8/2010 2:20:52 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry to hear that, but luckily we live in the 21st century. Where technological advances are strong. Soon, very soon. ;)


RE: Sweet
By MrBlastman on 11/8/2010 3:00:17 PM , Rating: 2
I wish your wife the best. If she ends up going the transplant route, have her avoid any liver biopsies after it--it is what got someone near to my family, tragically.

I think therapies like in this article are wonderful for people who otherwise would face such mountainous procedures to give them a shot at survival.


RE: Sweet
By Breathless on 11/8/2010 3:22:27 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks dudes. The problem is that most people with her condition that receive the transplant end up dying from it (the transplant). The radiation regiment that is necessary to kill off the bad cells is general too much for them to handle. Time is of the essence because 30 years of age is the average time that she is expected to get marrow failure. We are currently trying to raise her platelets through natural means without having to resort to harsh steroids.


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