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Biotech Canada Medicine Science

Scientists Turn Skin Into Blood 229

Posted by samzenpus
from the horror-movie dept.
Breakthru writes "In an important breakthrough, scientists at McMaster University have discovered how to make human blood from adult human skin. The discovery, published in the prestigious science journal Nature today, could mean that in the foreseeable future people needing blood for surgery, cancer treatment or treatment of other blood conditions like anemia will be able to have blood created from a patch of their own skin to provide transfusions. Clinical trials could begin as soon as 2012."
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Scientists Turn Skin Into Blood

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  • by jomegat (706411) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @11:25PM (#34158742)
    Just how much skin does it take to make a pint of blood? I would think a lot, but not having read the article, I wouldn't know.

    Seems to me they invented the reverse of the process that's really needed. It's a lot harder to get enough skin for grafting than it is to get blood for transfusions. Wouldn't blood-to-skin be a better conversion?

  • Re:Another Nail... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @11:45PM (#34158830) Homepage Journal

    Both sides of that argument had a lot of wrong impressions and misunderstandings. Using embryonic stem cells wan't directly about treatment, it was about research, there were properties that they wanted to understand. The biomedical community needed to learn how they work so that that knowledge can be used as a baseline to compare treatments. Interviewees on Science Friday did a pretty good job of explaining what they were looking for and why embryonic stem cells were desired for research. As for treatment though, I don't think ESC were ever going to be used in treatments except for very limited trials.

  • Re:Another Nail... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 08, 2010 @12:31AM (#34159012)

    That's true, but people also complain about how the US is falling behind in everything. Well, if we didn't have the idiotic moral baggage of the politically grandstanding a-blowjob-is-grounds-for-impeachment-but-lying-to-the-country-to-invade-a-sovereign-nation-that-the-UN-was-handling-just-fine of the religious right in this country, we might actually get some much-needed research done to increase the life expectancies of the entire world. So, it's either we follow the overly righteous idiots so we don't piss them off but we don't get any medical research done, or we carefully and dispassionately try to do research on the basic building blocks of the human body so we can contribute to the lives and wellbeing of our children. But, it's not like people in this country haven't wanted conflicting things before.

  • by Psychotria (953670) on Monday November 08, 2010 @12:34AM (#34159028)

    Mammal red blood cells lack a nucleus. This is, in general, not true for other vertebrate animals although there are a few exceptions which I cannot think of right now

  • by nedlohs (1335013) on Monday November 08, 2010 @01:08AM (#34159150)

    You can grow skin in a lab - something you' aren't going to do with red blood cells. The "premature cellular aging" and "oh shit we used a made them cancer" also probably doesn't matter once you applied the magic to turn them into blood.

  • Re:Another Nail... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rabtech (223758) on Monday November 08, 2010 @10:18AM (#34160918) Homepage

    I'm fairly sure a lot of the /. readership would like to participate in the creation of ESCs.

    I know you are being funny but your comment reminded me: research shows that the average sexually active straight woman not using birth control will shed fertilized eggs on a regular basis (entirely naturally) because they fail to implant or because her period arrives too quickly (not enough hormones build up to trigger the "I'm preggers" alarm and stop the monthly cycle). Of the ones that do implant, a significant number miscarry due to errors in the DNA, cell replication, or other developmental issues. Sometimes the woman is even unaware that she was pregnant to begin with, she may just believe her cycle was "late".

    Warning: metaphysical discussion follows...

    If life/humanity/soul/etc begins at conception, then God is the biggest mass murderer of all time. That's not an image of God I can buy, so I must conclude that the human idea that "life begins at conception" must be entirely incorrect. Ergo there can be no legitimate objection to the study of stem cells nor can there be objection to birth control or even at least some types of abortions.

    As a man of science and of faith I must believe that anytime scientific discovery and faith appear to be in conflict they are not - it is merely my misinterpretation or my preconceived ideas about God that cause the conflict. The facts are what they are and do not bend themselves to fit my worldview, something I wish more people would acknowledge.

It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions. - Robert Bly

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