Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blood Sourced Using Own Skin

Obviously, while you are not going to get your blood in the trauma ward, what is available will now become standardized from characterized donors eliminating donor sourced risks altogether.  If this works out it will be a huge clinical advance.

The development is getting plenty of coverage as it should.  Focus is on the chronic ailments were infusions become a way of life.  This will again end donor supply risk.  We will no longer hear horror stories (thankfully on the wane anyway) because this will make them impossible.

Obviously there is more work to be done and it sounds like we are checking the fine detail and all things been equal, this will be available rather soon.  There will be huge presswure3 to move it along.

It is worth getting excited about.

Need some blood? You could soon make your own from your skin, say scientists

Last updated at 11:09 AM on 8th November 2010

Patients could be treated with blood made from their own skin after a startling breakthough by scientists.

The prospect of ‘growing your own blood’ may mean the end of the need for endless donations by strangers to keep supplies topped up.

Scientists found that by injecting skin cells with DNA proteins and a cocktail of molecules they could turn them into blood cells.

It means that patients needing transfusions – such as those with cancer and leukaemia – could be given perfectly matched blood, with no risk of infection.

Valuable commodity: Blood donations could become a thing of the past if patients needing transfusions can manufacture their own supply

The Canadian research has been described as ‘fantastic’ by British experts, who said the discovery could save hundreds of lives.

Researchers took skin cells from adults of various age groups and newborn babies and found that regardless of how old they were, they could be transformed into blood cells.

They now want to test whether these blood cells can be safely transferred into humans: similar to a normal blood transfusion. The checks will be carried out by 2012, raising the prospect that the technique could be available in hospitals within the next few years.

In the past scientists have ‘grown’ blood cells from stem cells taken from discarded IVF embryos and aborted foetuses, but this latest discovery, published in the journal Nature, is the first time scientists have turned living skin cells straight into blood cells.

They say this method is far quicker because it creates adult blood, rather than immature blood which is made when using embryos or foetuses.

Researcher Mick Bhatia, of McMaster University in Hamilton, said: ‘I see the first sets of patients as being patients suffering from leukaemia. 

'Being able to take skin cells and convert them into healthy blood, specifically adult blood, would provide a great substitute product to hopefully out-compete those leukaemia cells.’

The NHS depends on up to 2.5million units of donated blood – each half a litre – every year for urgent transfusions and platelets for cancer sufferers.

Experts say the breakthrough could solve a ‘big clinical need’.

Dr Lesley Walker, of Cancer Research UK, said: ‘This is a really big step forward towards overcoming the problem of finding the perfect match for cancer patients who need blood transfusions, and it has the potential to save many lives.

‘We really look forward to seeing whether this process can be done quickly and cheaply enough to be used in the clinic.’

Professor John Hunt, a stem cell scientist from the University of Liverpool, said: ‘It’s fantastic research, but it’s not yet in the clinic and we don’t know if these red blood cells are going to carry oxygen. 

'This opens a lot of doors, and if we could produce red blood cells we’d be solving a big clinical need.’

The study also raises the prospect that other types of cells could be created from skin cells. Scientists may be able to create brain cells from the skin to help treat patients with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, for example.

The researchers said it would be possible for people with rare blood types to grow their own blood, and freeze it either for their personal use or to help others in the same blood group.

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