UW researchers closer to turning stem cells to blood

Research published Monday
UW researchers closer to turning stem cells to blood
Igor Slukvin

A group led by a University of Wisconsin researcher has made a discovery that could lead to making human blood out of stem cells.

The results of the research published Monday in the journal Nature Communications show two genetic programs responsible for taking stem cells and turning them into both red and white cells that make up human blood.

Scientists could use the process to make blood cells and blood products and investigate how blood cells develop.

“By overexpressing just two transcription factors, we can, in the laboratory dish, reproduce the sequence of events we see in the embryo,” where blood is made, said Igor Slukvin of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center.

For every million stem cells produced using this method, the researchers were able to produce 30 million blood cells.