News from CMRB
Eight days. That’s how long it takes for skin cells to reprogram into red blood cells. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden, together with colleagues at Center of Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona (CMR[B]), have successfully identified the four genetic keys that unlock the genetic code of skin cells and reprogram them to start producing red blood cells instead.
“We have performed this experiment on mice, and the preliminary results indicate that it is also possible to reprogram skin cells from humans into red blood cells. One possible application for this technique is to make personalised red blood cells for blood transfusions, but this is still far from becoming a clinical reality”, says Johan Flygare, manager of the research group and in charge of the study.
With the help of a retrovirus, they introduced different combinations of over 60 genes into the skin cells’ genome, until one day they had successfully converted the skin cells into red blood cells. The study is published in the scientific journal Cell Reports.
Sandra Capellera-Garcia, Julian Pulecio, Kishori Dhulipala, Kavitha Siva, Violeta Rayon-Estrada, Sofie Singbrant, Mikael N.E. Sommarin, Carl R. Walkley, Shamit Soneji, Göran Karlsson, Ángel Raya, Vijay G. Sankaran (2016). Defining the Minimal Factors Required for Erythropoiesis through Direct Lineage Conversion. Cell Reports