You are here: Home » PTI Stories » International » News
Business Standard

Scientists create stem cells from blood

Press Trust of India  |  London 

The team at the University of Cambridge said this could be one of the easiest and safest sources of stem cells.

The cells were used to build blood vessels but experts cautioned that the safety of using such stem cells was still unclear, the BBC reported.

Stem cells are one of the great hopes of medical research.

They can transform into any other type of cell the body is built from - so they should be able to repair everything from the brain to the heart, and eyes to bone.

One source of stem cells is embryos, but this is ethically controversial and they might be rejected by the immune system in the same way as an organ transplant.

Researchers have shown that skin cells taken from an adult can be tricked into becoming stem cells, which the body should recognise as part of itself and would not reject.

The team at Cambridge looked in blood samples for a type of repair cell that whizzes through the bloodstream repairing any damage to the walls of blood vessels. These were then converted into stem cells.

Dr Amer Rana said this method was better than taking samples from skin.

"We are excited to have developed a practical and efficient method to create stem cells from a cell type found in blood," she said.

"Tissue biopsies are undesirable - particularly for children and the elderly - whereas taking blood samples is routine for all patients," she added.

The cells also appeared to be safer to use than those made from skin, Rana told the BBC.

"The fact that these appeared to be fairly stable is very promising," she said.

"The next stage obviously is to say, 'OK if we can do all this, let's actually make some clinical grade cells', we can then move this technology into the clinic for the first time," she said.

"It's a hell of a lot easier to get a blood sample than a high quality skin sample, so that's a big benefit," said Professor Chris Mason, an expert on regenerative medicine at University College London.

"However, induced pluripotent stem cells (those converted from adult cells) are still very new, we need far more experience to totally reprogram a cell in a way we know to be safe," Mason added.

The study was published in the journal Stem Cells.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Sat, December 01 2012. 17:45 IST