Scientists from Singapore take a one step closer in developing human blood from skin cells as they successfully created an artificial mouse blood and immune cells from skin cells.
Their discovery, described in a paper published in the journal Nature Communications, is considered to be a potential game-changer in the field of regenerative medicine.
"On the face of it, skin cells and blood cells couldn't be more different from one another," explained Dr Cheng Hui, who worked initiated the study during his stay at A*STAR's Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS), in a press release. We have been interested in whether it might be possible to rewrite the identity of cells, specifically to turn skin into blood."
Previous studies have already identified a cocktail of four factors that can convert mouse skin cells into different blood cell types. These factors could, which are normally active in blood cells, have the ability to rewrite skin cells to adopt features of blood cells.
This is not the first time that scientists tried to create blood cells using skin cells. However, previous efforts in the past yielded cells that could only last two weeks when injected in mouse models. On the other hand, this newest attempt of researchers from Singapore last for multiple months after being injected in the mice. This shows that transcription factors that orchestrate embryonic hematopoiesis can artificially reprogram the development of the skin cells, converting them into blood cells.
With their findings, the researchers are hoping to extend the same results to human skin cells. If proven to be safe and effective, this conversion technique could provide a robust source of new blood or immune cells. It will be easier for patients suffering from immune disorders and other diseases, as well as those who are in need of blood transfusions, to receive the necessary treatment they need.
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