Canadian Cell Researchers transform Skin into Blood

Canadian research on human test subjects reveals the discovery that a transformation of human skin cells into blood cells is possible by using a certain combination of chemicals. The research results represent the first outcomes stemming from tests with human subjects.

The direct transformation possibility bears advantages for individual-targeted cell therapies that would differ from the current method called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells.

At the McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, Mickie Bhatia and his co-workers, decided to use skin cells in order to make blood progenitors. They explain: "Those cells, because they think they're embryonic, make embryonic and fetal blood".

For the process of creating such cells, the research team used skin samples of several test subjects, infected these with a virus and treated them with a protein mixture afterwards,

Tests demonstrated that the newly produced progenitors consisted of three kinds of blood cells such as red and white blood cells as well as platelets. The new cells proved to function well according to their purpose.

Although this research represents the first successful study on human test subjects, the leading researcher already speculate about further tests on human receptions of such artificially created cells. Nevertheless, Bhatia explains: "The clinical side is going to be a lot of work. At least from our estimation, this is the most encouraging result we've seen for using blood cells for cell-replacement therapy".

In order to find out if the artificial blood cells work as efficient cells produced directly by the human body and how to produce them in large quantity, further research in this field must be conducted. If the artificial cells can efficiently be used by the human body, treatments of diseases such as cancer might be significantly enriched.