Scientists make blood from human stem cells14 years, 2 months ago
Posted on Jun 16, 2005, 9 a.m.
By Bill Freeman
Australian scientists say they have found a way to make blood cells in volume out of human master cells, which could eventually lead to production of safe blood cells for transfusions and organ transplants. Synthetically produced red blood cells would, in theory, overcome the concerns about dangerous infections that can be transmitted from blood donors to patients worldwide
Synthetically produced red blood cells would, in theory, overcome the concerns about dangerous infections that can be transmitted from blood donors to patients worldwide.
But researchers said it would probably take years for scientists to get to the stage where blood cells could be made in large enough quantities for transfusions.
"What would be nice is if it opens the possibility for the future of making large quantities of blood cells in a controlled environment which could be used to treat patients," said Andrew Elefanty, who led the research at Monash University in Melbourne.
Writing in the U.S. journal Blood, the researchers said they were able to turn human embryonic stem cells into red and white blood cells using a system that makes more blood cells more rapidly and more safely, with fewer animal ingredients, than others have done.
"The other thing we think is important is that the way we've made the cells develop into blood is something which could be applied to other types of cells as well," Elefanty told Reuters.
The team's system was able to stimulate the stem cells specifically into becoming red or white cells.
Elefanty said the research showed that the path that human embryonic stem cells take in becoming blood cells was similar to experiments done in other animals, like mice.
While other researchers have used serum from cows as the medium for growing cells, the Monash team used a cocktail of salt and electrolyte solutions with amino acids and fats.
The system was not completely free of animal proteins, as the albumin was purified from cows. The team plans to use synthetic albumin eventually when it becomes available.
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