Scientists Discovered A Way To Produce Red Blood Cells

First Posted: Jun 05, 2016 04:58 AM EDT

The researchers from Lund University in Sweden and Center of Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona have recognized the four genetic keys that unlock the genetic code of skin cells. In eight days, the skin cells reprogram and will start producing red blood cells.

Science Daily reports that the study was printed in the scientific journal Cell Reports. Johan Flygare is in charge of the study and the manager of the research group. The study was led by Sandra Capellera, a doctoral student and the lead author of the study.

Flygare explained that they have performed the experiment on mice. The preliminary results imply that it is also possible to reprogram skin cells from humans into red blood cells. He further explained that one possible application of this technique is to make personalized red blood cells for blood transfusions. On the other hand, it is still far from becoming a clinical reality.

Meanwhile, Capellera said that this the first time anyone has ever succeeded in transforming skin cells into red blood cells, which is incredibly exciting. The researchers introduced various combinations of 60 genes into the skin cells' genome with the help of a retrovirus. Then, one day they had successfully transformed the skin cells into red blood cells.

They also discovered that out of 20,000 genes, only four are necessary to reprogram the skin cells to start making red blood cells and all of them are needed to make it work. This study in which finding a way to make blood from an individual's own skin cells would be of relief for those people who are suffering from anemia, which is a condition wherein the patient does not have sufficient amount of red blood cells.

Red blood cells (RBCs) contain a protein called hemoglobin that carries oxygen to the body tissues--via blood flow through the circulatory system. They are also referred to as erythrocytes. They are the most common type of blood cell. The red blood cells also eradicate the carbon dioxide from the body then transport it to the lungs for you to exhale. They live inside the bone marrow. They live typically for 120 days and then die.

There are vitamins that can build healthy red blood cells. These include vitamins B2, B3, B12, which can be found in foods like whole grains, eggs, bananas and vitamin E, which can be found in foods such as nuts and seed, avocados, mango and vegetables. Folate can also produce red blood cells. This is available in dried beans and lentils, green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals and orange juice.


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