Washington: Scientists have discovered two genetic programs that are responsible for taking blank-slate stem cells to turn them into both red and white cells that make up human blood.
Igor Slukvin, the lead researcher from University of Wisconsin-Madison explained that this was the first demonstration of the production of different kinds of cells from human pluripotent stem cells, using transcription factors.
Slukvin said that by over-expressing just two transcription factors, they could reproduce the sequence of events they see in the "embryo" where blood was made, in the laboratory dish.
The method developed by Slukvin`s group was shown to produce blood cells in abundance. For every million stem cells, the researchers were able to produce 30 million blood cells.
According to Slukvin, an unfulfilled aspiration is to produce hematopoietic stem cells, multipotent stem cells found in bone marrow that are used to treat some cancers, including leukemia and multiple myeloma, in the lab.
The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.