Scientists ‘Grow’ first Red Blood Cells

Scientists at Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, Massachusetts have succeeded in growing stable red blood cells from stock Embryonic Stem Cells. Not only that, but the red blood cells they have created are Type O, which means they are universally transfusable – not having the antigen issue of types A and B. Type O blood occurs naturally in about 8% of the Caucausian population (less in others) so is highly prized.

The team’s crucial achievement was getting the cells to expel their nuclei, just as they would in the body. “Experts said it was impossible, and we were pretty surprised ourselves when it worked,” said Lanza.

Researchers had previously grown blood cells from ESCs, but never achieved this “enucleation” step, which is important beceause it means the cells can’t divide and become cancerous. The key seems to be to grow the blood cells on connective “stromal” cells from the bone marrow, where blood cells are made in the body.

Tests on the red blood cells suggest that they deliver oxygen just as efficiently as donated red blood cells. The team was also able to produce the red blood cells in bulk, creating populations of as many as 100 billion cells.

Journal reference: Blood, DOI: 10.1182/Blood-2008-05-157198

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: