Study uses stem cells to boost red blood cell production

Study uses stem cells to boost red blood cell production
New method could dramatically increase transfusion blood supply, researchers say.

(HealthDay) -- Using human stem cells, scientists have developed methods to boost the production of red blood cells, according to a new study.

Their discovery could significantly increase the needed for blood transfusions, the researchers said, and their methods can be used to produce any blood type.

"Being able to produce red blood cells from has the potential to overcome many difficulties of the current system, including sporadic shortages," Dr. Anthony Atala, editor of the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine, in which the study appeared, said in a journal news release.

"This team has made a significant contribution to scientists' quest to produce red blood cells in the lab," said Atala, who is also director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

How does the new process work?

"We combined different cell-expansion protocols into a 'cocktail' that increased the number of cells we could produce by 10- to 100-fold," said researcher Eric Bouhassira, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

Currently, the blood needed for life-saving transfusions is obtained only through donations. As a result, blood can be in short supply, particularly for those with rare blood types. The researchers produced a higher yield of red by using stem cells from cord blood and circulating blood as well as , according to the release.

"The ability of scientists to grow large quantities of at an industrial scale could revolutionize the field of ," Bouhassira said. "Collecting blood through a donation-based system is serving us well but it is expensive, vulnerable to disruption and insufficient to meet the needs of some people who need ongoing transfusions. This could be a viable long-term alternative."

The study, which appeared online Aug. 2, was partially supported by the funding agency of the New York State Empire Stem Cell Board.

More information: Visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health to learn more about stem cells.

Related Stories

Molecule dictates how stem cells travel

Jan 14, 2006

U.S. researchers have defined a molecule that dictates how blood stem cells travel to the bone marrow and establish blood and immune cell production.

An advance toward blood transfusions that require no typing

Mar 09, 2011

Scientists are reporting an "important step" toward development of a universal blood product that would eliminate the need to "type" blood to match donor and recipient before transfusions. A report on the "immunocamouflage" ...

Recommended for you

Student seeks to improve pneumonia vaccines

22 hours ago

Almost a million Americans fall ill with pneumonia each year. Nearly half of these cases require hospitalization, and 5-7 percent are fatal. Current vaccines provide protection against some strains of the ...

Seabed solution for cold sores

Aug 20, 2014

The blue blood of abalone, a seabed delicacy could be used to combat common cold sores and related herpes virus following breakthrough research at the University of Sydney.

Better living through mitochondrial derived vesicles

Aug 19, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—As principal transformers of bacteria, organelles, synapses, and cells, vesicles might be said to be the stuff of life. One need look no further than the rapid rise to prominence of The ...

Zebrafish help to unravel Alzheimer's disease

Aug 19, 2014

New fundamental knowledge about the regulation of stem cells in the nerve tissue of zebrafish embryos results in surprising insights into neurodegenerative disease processes in the human brain. A new study by scientists at ...

User comments