Do-gooders who hate needles and vampires rejoice: scientists have created blood stem cells in a lab for the first time. This means that someday soon, we may have an endless supply of blood and their components (red blood cells, platelets, and plasma).
WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH ALL THIS BLOOD?
Blood is important. It’s used to treat blood disorders and diseases such as leukemia. It’s used in standard and emergency surgery. It’s used to treat blood loss after childbirth. Unfortunately, blood banks often have difficulties maintaining three-day blood supplies the demand far outweighs the supply.
Lab-made blood eliminates the risk of donor rejection and ensures there’s an ample supply for emergencies and research. This supply would be more reliable than the blood donor system, and would be guaranteed disease-free.
SO HOW DO YOU MAKE BLOOD?
A team led by stem cell biologist George Daley of Boston Children’s Hospital made the breakthrough. Daley started with human pluripotent stem cells – the cells that can transform into other types of cells found in a person’s body. After studying the genes involved in blood production, Daley’s team identified five proteins that control these genes and applied them to pluripotent stem cells.
These worked together to encourage the pluripotent stem cells to become blood stem cells. When the blood stem cells were introduced to immunodeficient mice, the mice went on to produce new red and white blood cells!
WHEN CAN I EXPECT THIS BLOOD?
The lab-made stem cells are not quite ready to be used in people just yet, says Daley. Although his mice were healthy throughout the experiment, there is a risk that the cells could mutate and cause cancer. And as of right now, the cells are not as efficient at making blood as those found in the body.
However, Daley is still hopeful that his cells will soon be able to create whole blood suitable for transfusions.
An endless supply of blood could mean great things for science and medicine.
Until then, RegenerVate offers Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections made from your own blood. PRP injections encourage fast healing in tendons, ligaments, and muscles. For more information about our regenerative medicines and injection therapy treatments, call us at 1-855-712-9901 to schedule an appointment, or drop by one of our RegenerVate locations!