How stem cells turn into blood cells

March 6th, 2009 - 3:02 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Mar 6 (ANI): A research team led by an Indian origin scientist has shed light on how stem cells turn into blood cells.

Stem cells are the building blocks of every organ and tissue in the body. They have a unique ability to become any type of cell in the body including bone, muscle and blood cells.

Dr. Mick Bhatia, director of the McMaster University Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute claim to have identified a particular cell pathway, known as the noncanonical Wnt that prompts stem cells to specialize and become blood cells.

The pathway appears to organize the stem cells so that they can respond to signals telling them what to turn into.

“By directing cell differentiation, this method provides the most efficient way to produce blood cells that we are aware of to date, said Bhatia.

“This finding is exciting because it may provide a new way to make blood from human stem cells that could be used to regenerate the blood system in patients, including those with leukemia or those undergoing cancer treatments that indirectly destroy the immune and blood system,” said Dr. Christine Williams, Director of Research Programs at the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute.

The findings are published in Cell Stem Cell. (ANI)

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