After two intense weeks of exams, i´m finally back! God those exams were hard especially the physics one! At least I can get back to what I really love: blogging and medicine J Although I’ve been busy with exams, I've tried to keep up to date with the latest news, here’s a summary of the main events of these past two weeks:
- Platelets produced from stem cells:
Once again researchers at Kyoto are at the centre of discussion. It’s been reported that scientists at this institution have been able to create for the first time platelet cells by reprogramming stem cells derived from the adult form.
Induced pluripotent stem cells, (iPS) are produced by manipulating ordinary human skin or blood cells back to a state in which they are able to differentiate into a number of different cell types. When they were first discovered in 2006, they looked like the perfect alternative to embryonic stem cells, however the process of producing non-mutated cells has proved challenging. The limitation in using this method has been the ability to find a method that creates a large number of high-quality, functional platelets.
The Japanese researchers set out to create a cell line with a large number of high-quality megakaryocytes from stem cells that can be grown indefinitely and differentiate into a variety of cell types in the body. They were able to produce a cell line that turned off certain genes to generate functional platelets. They then tested the cultured platelets by infusing them into immunodeficient mouse models and confirmed that they had the same life span as human platelets infused in mice.
This has the potential of taking us forward to a day when we might be able to eliminate blood platelet shortages. This type of blood cell intervenes in the coagulation process: platelets stick together and form a plug at the site of an injured blood vessel, allowing the injured site to heal.