Stem cells could provide unlimited platelet supply, study says.

by L.A Times:

Jane donates platelets at a local blood drive.

Chemotherapy, radiation treatments, organ transplants and illness can all depress numbers of platelets — the cell fragments in the blood that help form clots — in the human body.  Patients often need platelet transfusions.

But, researchers wrote Tuesday in the journal Cell Research, pluripotent stem cells  — that is, cells that have the potential to turn into any other type of cell in the body —  might one day provide a way to generate “an unlimited supply of platelets for transfusion” in the laboratory.

The researchers reported that the lab-grown platelets were “indistinguishable” from normal blood platelets — similar in shape and size — and that they behaved like the real thing, too, helping to form clots in lab dishes and in mice who had sustained injuries to blood vessels.  The embryonic stem cell-derived platelets also helped retract clots, the team wrote, another key part of platelets’ role in healing wounds.

The researchers said that the embryonic stem cells could “be propagated in vitro indefinitely,” which might mean large numbers of donors would no longer be essential to replenish platelet supplies. They reported that this marked the first time that anyone had produced platelets from embryonic stem cells in large numbers. It was also the first time that anyone had shown such platelets could function after transplant in a living animal, they said.

According to the research, one day clinicians might use techniques like this one to make platelets from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells — stem cells derived from adult cells in the body — as well.  These hold particular promise because they could be “donated” from the patient himself, creating a perfect match with little chance of being rejected by the body.

L.A Times

Everyday I hear something remarkable stem cells are able to do.

Can’t wait to see this research implemented in hospitals across the U.S