Researchers at the University of New South Wales now demonstrate how a micro-fluidic device that mimics the embryonic heart can produce blood stem cell precursors.
Blood stem cell donation is an important medical procedure, but it is subject to constant shortages.
As with organs and regular blood transfusions, patients who receive donated blood stem cells need to have the same blood type as their donor to prevent the body from reject cells Weird.
Ideally, scientists would be able to grow stem cells of blood in the laboratory, which theoretically could be given to whoever needed it. This could be done by culturing precursor cells, which can differentiate into a variety of blood stem cell types taken from an embryonic stem cell line.
“Part of the problem is that we still don’t fully understand all the processes going on in the microenvironment during embryonic development that lead to stem cell creation of blood around 32nd day”, explains Jingjing Lilead author of the study.
“So we made a device that mimics the heartbeat, blood circulation, and an orbital shaking system that causes shear stress — or friction — of blood cells as they move through the device or around a plate.”
The device is designed to promote the development of precursor blood stem cells. But not only, these precursors also started to produce differentiated blood cellsand even cells such as those lining blood vessels, which are responsible for creating blood stem cells in the developing embryo.
“Forming an aorta and then the cells that effectively emerge from that aorta into the circulation, this is the crucial step needed to generate these cells,” said study co-author, Robert Nordon.
“What we’ve shown is that we can generate a cell that can form all different types of blood cells. We also showed that it is closely related to the cells that line the aorta — so we know that its origin is correct — and that it proliferates.”
The team hopes that this work will eventually lead to devices that can incubate large batches of blood stem cellswhich would reduce donor dependency and reduce waiting times.
The researchers are currently working on expanding the technique by using bioreactors to grow the cells.