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Scientists are "tantalisingly close" to creating limitless artificial blood supply

19 May 2017

By contrast, Rafii's team generated true blood stem cells from mice without the intermediate step of creating iPS cells.

"This could potentially augment the blood supply for patients who need transfusions", Sugimura said.

"This step opens up an opportunity to take cells from patients with genetic blood disorders, use gene editing to correct their genetic defect and make functional blood cells", says Ryohichi (Rio) Sugimura, MD, PhD, the study's first author and a postdoctoral fellow in the Daley Lab.

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Rafii's group began with endothelial cells derived from the lining of mouse blood vessels, made them stem-cell-like by introducing four genes, and then completed their education them by growing them on a layer of cells derived from umbilical cord.

Different researchers and teams have worked on the newly discovered technique; however, none discovered any potential traces of cancer being developed after using the stem cells as rats were prone to the experience and they are, unlike humans, short-lived creatures. The left blue cells are emerging hematapoietic stem and progenitor cells. "This work is the culmination of over 20 years of striving", said Daley, who is also the dean of Harvard Medical School in the US. Haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells from human stem cells.

Simultaneously to this remarkable announcement, a separate team of scientists announced a similar achievement in the generation of blood-forming stem cells in a lab, but by using a completely different process.

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"Because he bypassed the iPS-cell stage, Rafii compares his approach to a direct aeroplane flight, and Daley's procedure to a flight that takes a detour to the Moon before reaching its final destination", says Amy Maxmen at Nature News. "We're now able to model human blood function in so- called humanised mice". When the reprogrammed HTCs were then transplanted into mice they saw the mice producing a variety of blood cells endowed with the genetic attributes of the original vascular cells.

The researchers discovered that five transcription factors (RUNX1, ERG, LCOR, HOXA5 and HOXA9) were required to force the cells into the correct form. But the latest advances have buoyed the spirits of researchers who have been frustrated by their inability to generate blood stem cells from iPS cells. The company, which was formed in 2015 and builds on research conducted in the laboratory of UW-Madison biomedical engineering professor Bill Murphy, is developing biomaterials capable of supporting stem cells as they grow. HSCs are long-lasting cells that can turn into a variety of blood cells upon maturing. "We're now able to model human blood function in so-called "humanized mice". This is a major step forward for our ability to investigate genetic blood disease". Instead of using iPS or embryonic cells, a team from Weill Cornell Medical College in NY managed to use adult stem cells taken from the lung walls of mice.

Researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine have discovered an innovative method to make an unlimited supply of healthy blood cells from the readily available cells that line blood vessels.

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One challenge in making bona-fide human blood stem cells is that no one's been able to fully characterize these cells. "You can roughly characterize blood stem cells based on surface markers, but even with this, it may not be a true blood stem cell". One possibility is to temporarily alter gene expression in iPS cells, rather than permanently insert genes that encode transcription factors, says Jeanne Loring, a stem-cell researcher at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Humans develop cancer partly because they have a long lifespan.

Scientists are