Leukaemia researchers move closer to stem cell breakthrough

LEUKAEMIA patients could be helped by new research that sheds light on how the body produces its blood supply.

Friday, 11th March 2016, 9:17 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th March 2016, 2:53 pm
File picture: Lisa Ferguson

Scientists at Edinburgh University have taken a step closer to creating blood stem cells that could reduce the need for bone marrow transplants in patients with cancer or blood disorders.

Researchers say the ability to grow the stem cells artificially from pluripotent stem cells could also lead to the development of personalised blood therapies.

Professor Alexander Medvinsky, of the university’s MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, said: “There is a pressing need to improve treatments for diseases like leukaemia and this type of research brings us a step closer to that milestone.

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“The more we understand about how embryos develop these blood stem cells, the closer we come to being able to make them in the lab.”

Scientists believe the discovery could one day be developed for clinical use.

The research has been published in the journal Nature Communications.