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Skin to Blood

December 7, 2010

Researchers are transforming skin cells to blood cells in the lab.


Turning skin into blood…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Blood donations are often in short supply. But in the future, blood could come from the very patients who need it most. Scientists at McMaster University in Canada have found a way to transform skin cells into blood cells. Stem cell biologist Mick Bhatia led the research.

MICK BHATIA (McMaster University):
We’ve been able to do take human skin samples and culture those in a Petri dish.
The resulting cells are called skin fibroblast. It takes about three steps over thirty days, to convert those skin fibroblast into multiple types of blood cells.

He says that the work is currently confined to the laboratory, but he’s hopeful that eventually, a small skin sample could produce millions of healthy blood cells to treat conditions like leukemia. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.