Within a decade of embryo scientists’ ‘Rosetta Stone’ moment, blood could be manufactured for transfusion.


Within a decade of embryo scientists’ “Rosetta Stone” moment, blood could be manufactured for transfusion.

A major breakthrough in research has revealed crucial information about the formation of red and white blood cells.

Scientists have hailed an embryonic research breakthrough as a “Rosetta Stone” discovery that could allow them to mass-produce blood within a decade.

The breakthrough was made after scientists observed a human embryo at a stage of development that had never been studied before.

Gastrulation, the period of embryonic development from 14 to 21 days, is arguably the most important part of any human’s development, but scientists have been unable to study it due to a legal ban on keeping embryos in labs for more than 14 days.

Scientists now have a better understanding of how red and white blood cells form thanks to observations made from an aborted embryo.

Professor Shankar Srinivas of Oxford University toldi, “This is a major breakthrough in our understanding of the gastrulation period and could contribute to blood being mass produced by adapting stem cells.”

Gastrulation has been dubbed “the most important time in a person’s life” because it is when the body’s plan is established.

During this time, the embryo’s uniform stem cells begin to differentiate into different types of cells with specialized functions.

Researchers may be able to mimic the process and mass-produce blood if they can shed light on how the embryo converts stem cells into blood cells at this critical stage of development.

“This research fills a gap in our understanding of the progression from the fertilized egg to mature blood types,” Professor Srinivas said.

He does warn, however, that much more research is needed to figure out exactly how blood is made because there are so many different cell types and bodily processes that must be fully understood and replicated.

“Experts in the field may be able to develop more efficient ways of generating blood now that we have this missing link.”

“I’d say it’ll be a decade or more before we start producing blood,” he said.

“Transfusions would be the most important need,” he said, adding that it could also be used after chemotherapy to help replace the patient’s depleted cells.

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UK news summary from Infosurhoy

Within a decade of embryo scientists’ “Rosetta Stone” moment, blood could be manufactured for transfusion.

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Blood could be manufactured for transfusion within a decade after ‘Rosetta Stone’ moment for embryo scientists

Mice are more similar to humans than was thought

The way the human embryo develops during gastrulation appears very similar to the way a mouse develops, the results of the study suggest – indicating that research projects using mice could be even better proxies for humans on diseases, drugs and general physical development than previously thought.

Scientists have been experimenting on mice for decades to get an early indication of how safe and effective a new treatment or vaccine may be and to learn more about diseases in general.

If early tests on mice are successful, drugs are tested on larger animals, such as monkeys, and eventually humans before being given to the general public.

But when it comes to researching the gastrulation period of embryonic development, 14 to 21 days after fertilisation, mice have played an even more important role, since scientists have been unable to study humans.

The early indications of this project are that mice are a pretty good – though by no means perfect – proxy for humans at this stage of their development.

“We identified a bunch of different things between the human and the mouse but the important point is that the mouse is a very good model of the human,” said Professor Srinivas.

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