German scientists using new imaging technology said on Wednesday they have watched a single cell give rise to blood cells, bolstering understanding of stem cells.
The findings could one day allow scientists to create blood in the laboratory that hospitals could give to patients needing transfusions, said Timm Schroeder of the Institute of Stem Cell research in Munich.
"What we are looking at is where blood really comes from during development," he said in a telephone interview. "Blood cells are born during the embryo development and we wanted to know from what type of cells they came from."
The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Nature, developed technology that allowed them to track hundreds of thousands of cells in real time over a week.
Homing in thousands of endothelial cells, which line blood vessels, the researchers discovered that a subset was able to form blood cells.
"It is important to know the exact cell type that produces blood," Schroeder said. "This is the prerequisite to tweak the system to produce blood cells from embryonic stem cells in a lab."
Stem cells are the body's master cells, giving rise to various tissues and the blood. Some types are found throughout organs, blood and tissue and are in immature form until they generate needed cell types.
Doctors hope to use them some day in a new field called regenerative medicine in which tailor-made transplants of tissues and perhaps organs can be grown from a patient's own cells.
Last Mod: 12 Şubat 2009, 15:44