Latest in Tomorrow

Image credit: Jan Bruder

Lab-grown stem cells could replace blood donations

Cancer patients could someday sidestep waiting for bone marrow transplants.
614 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save
Jan Bruder

Stem cells are kind of wild and can be used to create just about anything. Now, scientists have successfully created blood in a lab using the wundermaterial. As New Scientist points out, this could mean that certain cancer patients wouldn't have to undergo painful bone-marrow transplants in the future. And, that finding donors for such could no longer be an issue.

The scientists found a quintet of proteins that encouraged the stem cells to become blood cells, and when put into lab mice, the cells made red-and-white blood cells and platelets. Another research team did something similar, but started with adult mice and lung stem cells. The ultimate goal would be using this blood for full-body transfusions

Don't get too excited just yet. We're still a few years out because this still has to go through intensive testing and clinical trials before it can be administered to humans. As New Scientist notes, there's still a chance these stem cells could mutate and become cancerous. So, the current plan is to use them for platelet and red blood cell production -- no nucleus means potentially no cell division and mutation.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext file