FINDINGS: Cells from frozen human blood samples can be reprogrammed to an embryonic stem-cell-like state, according to Whitehead Institute researchers. These cells can be multiplied and used to study the genetic and molecular mechanisms of blood disorders and other diseases.
RELEVANCE: Blood samples represent an easily accessible source of human cells for research and offer a host of practical advantages over the reliance on skin biopsies to attain cell samples. The breakthrough described here allows for study of cells from frozen blood samples already stored at blood bankseven from deceased patients.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (July 1, 2010) Cells from frozen human blood samples can be reprogrammed to an embryonic-stem-cell-like state, according to Whitehead Institute researchers. These cells can be multiplied and used to study the genetic and molecular mechanisms of blood disorders and other diseases.
The research is reported in the July 2 issue of Cell Stem Cell.
To date, most cellular reprogramming has relied on skin biopsy or the use of stimulating factors to obtain the cells for induction of pluripotency. This work shows for the first time that cells from blood samples commonly drawn in doctor's offices and hospitals can be used to create induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.
Using blood as a cell source of iPS cells has two major advantages.
"Blood is the easiest, most accessible source of cells, because you'd rather have 20 milliliters of blood drawn than have a punch biopsy taken to get skin cells," says Judith Staerk, first author of the Cell Stem Cell paper and a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Whitehead Founding Member Rudolf Jaenisch.
Also, blood collection and storage is a well established part of the medical system.
"There are enormous resourcesblood banks with samples from patientsthat may hold the only viable cells from patients who may not be alive anymore or fr
|Contact: Nicole Giese|
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research