Scientists get closer to making personalized blood cells by using patients’ own stem cells – Los Angeles Times

New research has nudged scientists closer to one of regenerative medicine’s holy grails: the ability to create customized human stem cells capable of forming blood that would be safe for patients.

Advances reported Wednesday in the journal Nature could not only give scientists a window on what goes wrong in such blood cancers as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. They could also improve the treatment of those cancers, which affect some 1.2 million Americans.

The stem cells that give rise to our blood are a mysterious wellspring of life. In principle, just one of these primitive cells can create much of a human being’s immune system, not to mention the complex slurry of cells that courses through a person’s arteries, veins and organs.

While the use of blood-making stem cells in medicine has been common since the 1950s, it remains pretty crude. After patients with blood cancers have undergone powerful radiation and chemotherapy treatments to kill their cancer cells, they often need a bone-marrow transplant to rebuild their white blood cells, which are destroyed by that treatment.

Scientists get closer to making personalized blood cells by using patients’ own stem cells – Los Angeles Times

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