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Stem cells make blood

10 September 2001
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 124

Human embryonic stem cells have been made to turn into blood cells by a team of American scientists. The researchers, based at the University of Wisconsin, hope that the breakthrough will give scientists better understanding of how blood develops and eventually enable lab-grown blood to be made for use in medical treatments, including transfusions. Dan Kaufman, a haematologist involved in the research, said 'there are potential clinical therapies that may develop in the future but it's very clear that those therapies are many years off'.

The human stem cells were placed on a culture of bone marrow cells taken from mice. The nutrients in the culture encouraged blood cells' growth and the embryonic cells developed into haematopoietic precursor cells, a type of primitive blood cell. These cells then developed further into red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, just as they would in the body.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Embryonic stem cells turned into blood cells
The Washington Post |  4 September 2001
Stem cells guided down blood's developmental pathway
ScienceDaily |  4 September 2001
Stem cells turned to blood
BBC News Online |  3 September 2001
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