Canadian researchers at the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute at McMaster University in Ontario have made the major step of reprogramming human skin cells into blood cells. Their research was published in the most recent issue of Nature. Up until now, scientists have been focusing research on the conversion of embryonic stem cells into blood. But those efforts have been problematic, both because it's difficult to turn the stem cells into mature cells that can be transplanted into adults and because of the controversy over the use of embryonic stem cells in research as well as their finite availability.
The research team in Canada, however, has found a way to bypass all these concerns by using growth factors that can reprogram skin cells into blood cells, allowing for the development of adult blood cells for immediate transplant. They successfully changed skin cells into blood cells several times over the course of two years, using human skin from old as well as young patients.
This is exciting for everybody, especially the bio nerds. Breakthroughs like this in science will help us live better and longer.