Stem cells to treat cardiovascular disease

Scientists have discovered a patient-friendly and efficient way to make stem cells out of blood, increasing the hope that scientists could one day use stem cells made from patients’ own cells to treat cardiovascular disease.  Their research was published today in the journal Stem Cells: Translational Medicine.

The study, funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), Medical Research Council (MRC) and Wellcome Trust, outlines a way for scientists to get the cells they need to make induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells (3) from a routine blood sample. Previously scientists have struggled to find an appropriate type of cell in the blood that can be turned into a stem cell, and often make iPS cells from skin or other tissues, which can require a surgical procedure, like a biopsy.

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