Ground-breaking research could pave the way for blood cells to be generated from a patient’s own skin, spelling the end for blood donations.
Scientists have for the first time used embryonic stem cells – capable of creating every kind of tissue in the body to manufacture a broad range of human blood cells.
Using mice as living cell factories, they produced blood stem cells able to produce four blood cell types.
It could mean perfectly matched blood could be made to order for patients who have lost the ability to make their own due to leukaemia or chemotherapy.
Lead scientist Dr George Daley, from Boston Children’s Hospital said: ‘We’re tantalisingly close to generating bona fide human blood stem cells in a dish.’
The research, reported in the journal Nature, holds out enormous promise for developing personalised treatments for blood disorders, drug-screening and reducing shortages of donated blood.