Stem cells being made from blood
by James Gallagher,  Health and science reporter, BBC News


A patient’s own blood has been used to make personalised stem cells, which doctors hope will eventually be used to treat a range of diseases.

The team at the University of Cambridge says this could be one of the easiest and safest sources of stem cells.

In a study, published in the journal Stem Cells: Translational Medicine, the cells were used to build blood vessels.

However, experts cautioned that the safety of using such stem cells was still unclear.

Stem cells are one of the great hopes of medical research. They can transform into any other type of cell the body is built from – so they should be able to repair everything from the brain to the heart, and eyes to bone.

 “It’s a hell of a lot easier to get a blood sample than a high quality skin sample so that’s a big benefit” – Prof Chris MasonUniversity College London

One source of stem cells is embryos, but this is ethically controversial and they would be rejected by the immune system in the same way as an organ transplant.

Researchers have shown that skin cells taken from an adult can be tricked into becoming stem cells, which the body should recognise as part of itself and would not reject.

The team at Cambridge looked in blood samples for a type of repair cell that whizzes through the bloodstream repairing any damage to the walls of blood vessels. These were then converted into stem cells.

Dr Amer Rana said this method was better than taking samples from skin. “We are excited to have developed a practical and efficient method to create stem cells from a cell type found in blood,” he said.

Tissue biopsies are undesirable – particularly for children and the elderly – whereas taking blood samples is routine for all patients.”

Dr Rana told the BBC the cells also appeared to be safer to use than those made from skin. “The fact that these appeared to be fairly stable is very promising,” he said.

“The next stage obviously is to say, ‘OK if we can do all this, let’s actually make some clinical grade cells,’ we can then move this technology into the clinic for the first time.”

Prof Chris Mason, an expert on regenerative medicine at University College London, said there was some “beautiful work” coming out of the lab in Cambridge.

“It’s a hell of a lot easier to get a blood sample than a high quality skin sample, so that’s a big benefit,” he said.

“However, induced pluripotent stem cells [those converted from adult cells] are still very new, we need far more experience to totally reprogram a cell in a way we know to be safe.”

The British Heart Foundation said these cells had “great potential”.

The Medical Research Council said there was “rapid progress” being made in  this field.


taken with kind permission from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20539835

prepared by Angloland škola


Words in the News

stem cells – undifferentiated biological cells, that can differentiate into specialized cells and can divide through the process of mitosis to produce more stem cells.
disease – sickness, illness, malady, disorder,  an abnormal medical condition that affects the body of an organism. 
eventually– after a while, after some time
blood vessels – the part of the circulatory system that transports blood throughout the body.
to caution– to warn to avoid danger or harm
brain – the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate, enclosed within the cranium, continuous with the spinal cord, and composed of gray matter and white matter.
bone – rigid organs that constitute part of the endoskeleton of vertebrates.
a hell of a lot easier – much easier 
blood sample –an amount of blood used for blood tests usually extracted from the vein
skin– the outer protective layer of the body of any animal or a human
sample– a part of something used for tests, a specimen
embryo– the  product of conception in the stage before the foetus from implantation through the eighth week of development.
ethically– morally , related to moral and morality
controversial– much talked about, debatable, polemical
transplant– to transfer (tissue or an organ) from one body or body part to another.
adult– a mature person , a person older than 18 years of age
whizz–  to pass  quickly through the air.
damage– to harm, to do harm
to convert – to change into, switch
tissue – a group of morphologically similar cells and associated intercellular matter acting together to perform one or more specific functions in the body. There are four basic types of tissue: muscle, nerve, epidermal, and connective.
biopsy – the removal and examination of a sample of tissue from a living body in order to make a diagnosis 
undesirable – unwanted
the elderly – the old, the aged, the senior citizens
fairly  – pretty, rather, quite 
induced – brought about or caused; not spontaneous, produced artificially
pluripotent– capable of differentiating into one of many cell types
rapid– fast, quick, fleeting

taken with kind permission from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20539835

prepared by Angloland škola