Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Reprogrammed human blood cells show promise for disease research

02.07.2010
Cells from frozen human blood samples can be reprogrammed to an embryonic stem-cell-like state, according to Whitehead Institute researchers. These cells can be multiplied and used to study the genetic and molecular mechanisms of blood disorders and other diseases.

RELEVANCE: Blood samples represent an easily accessible source of human cells for research and offer a host of practical advantages over the reliance on skin biopsies to attain cell samples. The breakthrough described here allows for study of cells from frozen blood samples already stored at blood banks—even from deceased patients.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (July 1, 2010) – Cells from frozen human blood samples can be reprogrammed to an embryonic-stem-cell-like state, according to Whitehead Institute researchers. These cells can be multiplied and used to study the genetic and molecular mechanisms of blood disorders and other diseases.

The research is reported in the July 2 issue of Cell Stem Cell.

To date, most cellular reprogramming has relied on skin biopsy or the use of stimulating factors to obtain the cells for induction of pluripotency. This work shows for the first time that cells from blood samples commonly drawn in doctor's offices and hospitals can be used to create induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

Using blood as a cell source of iPS cells has two major advantages.

"Blood is the easiest, most accessible source of cells, because you'd rather have 20 milliliters of blood drawn than have a punch biopsy taken to get skin cells," says Judith Staerk, first author of the Cell Stem Cell paper and a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Whitehead Founding Member Rudolf Jaenisch.

Also, blood collection and storage is a well established part of the medical system.

"There are enormous resources—blood banks with samples from patients—that may hold the only viable cells from patients who may not be alive anymore or from the early stage of their diseases," says Jaenisch, who is also a professor of biology at MIT. "Using this method, we can now resurrect those cells as induced pluripotent stem cells. If the patient had a neurodegenerative disease, you can use the iPS cells to study that disease."

iPS cells are reprogrammed from an adult state to an embryonic stem-cell-like state by inserting four reprogramming genes into the adult cells' DNA. These reprogramming factors convert the adult cells, with defined cell functions, into much more flexible iPS cells. iPS cells can then be nudged to divide repeatedly or turn into almost any cell type found in the body, allowing scientists to create large amounts of the specific cells needed to study a disease, such as dopamine-producing neurons for Parkinson's disease research.

Unlike other cell types, human blood cells had proven extremely difficult to convert into iPS cells. Working with frozen blood samples similar to those found in a blood bank, Staerk found that she could convert the blood cells by inserting a "cassette" of the reprogramming factors end to end, rather than inserting each of the factors separately.

Not all of the cells in the blood samples were converted to iPS cells. Blood is composed of red cells that carry oxygen throughout the body, white cells that are part of the immune system, and platelets that clot the blood after an injury. Because red blood cells and platelets lack nuclei containing DNA, they cannot be converted to iPS cells. The only white bloods cells converted to iPS cells were T cells and a few myeloid cells. B cells failed to reprogram, most likely because the experiment's environment lacked the chemicals needed for successful B-cell conversion.

Staerk is particularly interested in using these iPS cells to study blood diseases.

"With this method, you could reprogram blood samples from patients where the underlying cause of their diseases is not known, and get cell numbers large enough to screen for genetic factors and study the molecular mechanisms underlying the blood disorders," she says. "That's a big advance, especially if the patient is not alive anymore and new material cannot be obtained."

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP).

Rudolf Jaenisch's primary affiliation is with Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, where his laboratory is located and all his research is conducted. He is also a professor of biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Full Citations:

"Reprogramming of human peripheral blood cells to induced pluripotent stem cells"

Cell Stem Cell, July 2, 2010.

Judith Staerk (1), Meelad M. Dawlaty (1), Qing Gao (1) Dorothea Maetzel (1) Jacob Hanna (1), Cesar A. Sommer (2), Gustavo Mostoslavsky (2), and Rudolf Jaenisch (1,3).

1. The Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, 9 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.
2. Section of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine and Center for Regenerative Medicine (CReM), Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA.

3. Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 31 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

Nicole Giese | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wi.mit.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>