Lab-grown Blood Stem Cells

Growing blood stem cells in a lab may be the key to producing a limitless supply of blood. This has potential to bypass the difficult process of finding a matching donor and doing blood marrow transplants.

Limitless Lab-Grown Blood Is ‘Tantalizingly Close’ After 20 Years – [singularityhub.com]

Blood stem cells are things of wonder: hidden inside each single cell is the power to reconstitute an entire blood system, like a sort of biological big bang.

Yet with great power comes greater vulnerability. Once these “master cells” are compromised, as in the case of leukemia and other blood disorders, treatment options are severely limited.

A bone marrow transplant is often the only chance for survival. The surgery takes a healthy donor’s marrow—rich with blood stem cells—and reboots the patient’s blood system. Unfortunately, like organ transplants, finding a matching donor places a chokehold on the entire process.

According to Dr. George Daley at Harvard Medical School, a healthy sibling gives you a one in four chance. A stranger? One in a million.

For 20 years, scientists have been trying to find a way to beat the odds. Now, two studies published in Nature suggest they may be “tantalizingly close” to being able to make a limitless supply of blood stem cells, using the patient’s own healthy tissues.

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