Medium online – 18/04/18
The donor-hunting escapade to rescue you from your debilitating conditions, caused due to a range of blood diseases, and leukemia seem to be obscure or have little relevance from now onwards. In two back to back researches, the blood producing cells, which form various blood cell types in our body have been developed under lab conditions for the first time.
This is a major breakthrough in medical science as it is eyeing to eradicate our need to find a suitable donor for bone marrow transplant and blood transfusion. We could be able to produce our own blood cells in our body using these lab grown hematopoietic stem cells.
The process of producing blood cells using hematopoietic stem cells of either human or mice involved a reprogram or manipulation technique. In both the studies, when these cells were implanted in the body of mice, they produced blood cells successfully. The elaborate finding of the researches have been made available in Nature.
The Method Of The Study
In the first study led by George Daley and his team at Harvard Medical School used embryonic tissues known as hemogenic endothelium by manipulating adult pluripotent stem cells with chemical signals. Human pluripotent stem cells have the potential to form any cell types in our body. The research team examined the efficacy of 26 transcription factor genes, but found only seven to be useful for the blood cell development. When coming in contact with the hemogenic endolethelium in the petri dish, the proteins pushed them to transform into blood stem cells.
The same technique was then applied to the bone marrow of the adult mice, and they produced red, white blood cells including platelets.
In the whole process, the transcription factor genes take a big role to identify and reprogram adult stem cells.
In another study, Rapheal Lis at Weil Cornell Medical College in New York and his team emphasized on the vascular environmental factor to aid the production of blood stem cells. They reprogrammed endolethelium tissues from the blood cell line using four transcriptional factor genes such as Fosb, Gfi1, Runx1, and Spi1. And they developed the cells in the vascular environment, which provided the cells with a perfect dwelling environment. Finally, these genes encouraged the development of blood stem cells.
Both the studies are supreme in their own way. Carolina Guibentif of the University of Cambridge, regarded this finding as the big deal. She sees a silver lining for the patients with blood disorders, as the lab grown blood stem cells if produced in high enough numbers, the patients no longer have to be dependent on the donors.
We can have reduced supply of blood cells in our body when the whole blood cell systems do not function properly. It leads to inadequate supply of oxygen to the body, leading to the development of serious illnesses. The chemotherapy and leukemia also cause a decline in the healthy blood stem cell growth. As a result, we are left with no other options rather than bone marrow transplants. However, while every one in four of a sibling matched donor, and every one in million of unmatched donors make up the donor lists, there is a huge scarcity of the perfect donors for the transplants. And hence, we can remain hopeful that the lab-grown blood stem cells will diminish this problem in the near future once the clinical applications would come into effects.