University of Tokyo's Institute of Medical Science researchers announced they have created blood-producing hematopoietic stem cells from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, in a development that could help in creating substitutes for bone marrow transplants used in treating leukemia.
Previous research has already used iPS cells to make blood cells such as red blood cells and platelets, but it has struggled to make hematopoietic stem cells. The necessary nutrients to grow those cells are unknown.
In the research, scientists injected mice with iPS cells, causing the formation of benign tumors, and also added substances thought to aid in the creation of hematopoietic stem cells. Afterwards they detected hematopoietic stem cells made from the iPS cells in the mice's bone marrow. They believe the hematopoietic stem cells moved out from the tumor into the bone marrow through the bloodstream.
When the created cells were implanted into mice that could not make their own blood, the mice became able to produce blood. A similar experiment by the researchers injecting the mice with human iPS cells also succeeded in creating hematopoietic stem cells.
"In order to reduce the risks, we will think about methods that do not use tumors," said professor Hiromitsu Nakauchi of the University of Tokyo's Institute of Medical Science, who was a member of the research team.
Illustration: Microsoft clipart.
The Mainichi (05/15/13)
Abstract (Nature Communications; (05/14/13))