Scientists have finally managed to produce lab-grown blood stem cells after 20 years of attempts, according to a report.
“Scientists have transformed mature cells into primordial blood cells that regenerate themselves and the components of blood. The work, described today in Nature, offers hope to people with leukemia and other blood disorders who need bone-marrow transplants but can’t find a compatible donor,” reported Nature on Wednesday. “If the findings translate into the clinic, these patients could receive lab-grown versions of their own healthy cells.”
“One team, led by stem-cell biologist George Daley of Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts, created human cells that act like blood stem cells, although they are not identical to those found in nature,” Nature explained. “A second team, led by stem-cell biologist Shahin Rafii of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, turned mature cells from mice into fully fledged blood stem cells.”
Mick Bhatia, a stem-cell researcher at McMaster University, praised the two teams’ accomplishments, likening it to the “holy grail.”
“For many years, people have figured out parts of this recipe, but they’ve never quite gotten there,” said Bhatia. “This is the first time researchers have checked all the boxes and made blood stem cells.”
“It’s pretty convincing that George has figured out how to cook up human hemopoietic stem cells,” he continued. “That is the holy grail.”
“A lot of people have become jaded, saying that these cells don’t exist in nature and you can’t just push them into becoming anything else,” Bhatia concluded. “I hoped the critics were wrong, and now I know they were.”