A breakthrough study has revealed that skin cells of human beings can be turned into blood, without the need of sending them through a primordial. The astounding research has been published in the journal Nature1.
The study is a follow-up of previous work, which showed that fibroblast cells from the skin of mice can be converted into neurons2 and heart muscle3. Though, in contrast to mouse cells, the new study is based on human cells and the creation of progenitor cells.
The Director of the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Edinburgh, UK, Ian Wilmut, stated that the new study was proof enough to prove that almost anything could be developed from anything. He added that the new study would help in the development of patient-specific therapies, which would me a lot safer.
One of the authors of the research, a stem-cell researcher at the MacMaster University, Mickie Bhatia decided to develop the blood progenitors from skin cells instead of stem cells; because RBCs produced using stem cells did not make the hemoglobin for adults. He added that because these cells thought they were embryonic, they made embryonic blood.
The researchers collected skin fibroblasts from many volunteers to develop the blood progenitor cells. The cells were later contaminated by a virus, which helped in the development of gene OCT4 in the system.
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