Study uses stem cells to boost red blood cell production

August 7, 2012
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.

Explore further: Researchers find way to help donor adult blood stem cells overcome transplant rejection

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

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Formaldehyde damages proteins, not just DNA

September 29, 2016

The capacity of formaldehyde, a chemical frequently used in manufactured goods such as automotive parts and wood products, to damage DNA, interfere with cell replication and cause cancer inspired new federal regulations this ...

Synthetic 3D-printed material helps bones regrow

September 28, 2016

A cheap and easy to make synthetic bone material has been shown to stimulate new bone growth when implanted in the spines of rats and a monkey's skull, researchers said Wednesday.

Epigenetic clock predicts life expectancy

September 28, 2016

UCLA geneticist Steve Horvath led a team of 65 scientists in seven countries to record age-related changes to human DNA, calculate biological age and estimate a person's lifespan. A higher biological age—regardless of chronological ...

Engineered blood vessels grow in lambs

September 27, 2016

In a hopeful development for children born with congenital heart defects, scientists said Tuesday they had built artificial blood vessels which grew unaided when implanted into lambs, right into adulthood.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.