McMaster University researchers create blood cells from skin cells

From CBC news:

Researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton report that they converted patches of skin directly into blood. Their process doesn’t involve any intermediate conversion of skin stem cells into multi-purpose stem cells that can create almost any other type of cells.

From Nature:
Direct conversion of human fibroblasts to multilineage blood progenitors

Eva Szabo1, Shravanti Rampalli1, Ruth M. Risueño1, Angelique Schnerch1,2, Ryan Mitchell1,2, Aline Fiebig-Comyn1, Marilyne Levadoux-Martin1 & Mickie Bhatia1,2

As is the case for embryo-derived stem cells, application of reprogrammed human induced pluripotent stem cells is limited by our understanding of lineage specification. Here we demonstrate the ability to generate progenitors and mature cells of the haematopoietic fate directly from human dermal fibroblasts without establishing pluripotency. Ectopic expression of OCT4 (also called POU5F1)-activated haematopoietic transcription factors, together with specific cytokine treatment, allowed generation of cells expressing the pan-leukocyte marker CD45. These unique fibroblast-derived cells gave rise to granulocytic, monocytic, megakaryocytic and erythroid lineages, and demonstrated in vivo engraftment capacity. We note that adult haematopoietic programs are activated, consistent with bypassing the pluripotent state to generate blood fate: this is distinct from haematopoiesis involving pluripotent stem cells, where embryonic programs are activated. These findings demonstrate restoration of multipotency from human fibroblasts, and suggest an alternative approach to cellular reprogramming for autologous cell-replacement therapies that avoids complications associated with the use of human pluripotent stem cells.

1. Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5
2. Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5

Correspondence to: Mickie Bhatia1,2 Email:

Nature advance online publication 7 November 2010 | doi:10.1038/nature09591

See also: Indian-led team transforms human skin into blood cells.

Mike Bhatia and his team at Canada’s McMaster University at Hamilton have successfully harnessed human skin to produce red bloods cells, two kinds of immune cells and the cells that produce platelets needed in clotting, the Indian-origin researcher said Sunday…. “We know how it works and believe we can even improve on the process”


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