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New method to produce blood cells from stem cells could yield a purer, safer cell therapy

A new protocol for reprogramming induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into mature blood cells, using just a small amount of the patient’s own blood and a readily available cell type, is reported on in the current issue of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine. This novel method skips the generally accepted process of mixing iPSCs with either mouse or human stromal cells during the differentiation process and, in essence, ensures no outside and potentially harmful DNA is introduced into the reprogrammed cells.

As such, it could lead to a purer, safer therapeutic grade of stem cells for use in regenerative medicine.

The discovery of iPSCs holds great promise for regenerative medicine since it is possible to produce patient-specific iPSCs from the individual for potential autologous treatment — that is, treatment using the patient’s own cells. This avoids the possibility of rejection and numerous other harmful side effects.