Scientists have used a modified version of the induced pluripotent stem cell process to create blood cells out of skin cells–without going through the pluripotent stage. This could be big. From the story:
Mick Bhatia, scientific director of McMaster’s Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, and his team of researchers have also shown that the conversion is direct. Making blood from skin does not require the middle step of changing a skin stem cell into a pluripotent stem cell that could make many other types of human cells, then turning it into a blood stem cell. “We have shown this works using human skin. We know how it works and believe we can even improve on the process,” said Bhatia. “We’ll now go on to work on developing other types of human cell types from skin, as we already have encouraging evidence.” The discovery was replicated several times over two years using human skin from both young and old people to prove it works for any age of person.
This breakthrough could do away with need for bone marrow donations in blood diseases. . . .
And yet millions continue to be spent by stubborn researchers attempting to find even one use for embryonic stem cells, at the cost of much human life.