The study of stem cells has been making incredible leaps when doctors realized that other cells could be manipulated into becoming stem cells.  Now scientists have found another way to turn a patient’s own blood vessel lining-derived cells into usable, personalized stem cells.

A new study on stem cell research published in the on-line journal, Stem Cells: Translational Medicine, titled, “A Practical and Efficient Cellular Substrate for the Generation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from Adults: Blood-Derived Endothelial Progenitor Cells” by Imbisaat Geti, Mark L. Ormiston, et. al., states that stem cells can now be made into other human cells by tricking them into becoming stem cells.  The submission reads in part,

We have developed a protocol that allows the reliable isolation of L-EPCs from peripheral blood mononuclear cell preparations, including frozen samples. As a proof-of-principle for clinical applications we generated EPC-iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells) from both healthy individuals and patients with heritable and idiopathic forms of pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Stem cells are cells found in the body of any multicellular organisms and have been a focus of scientists for many years since they can be transformed into any other type of cell in the body.  What separates these cells from other types of cells is that they are not predetermined to what they will be.  In humans, we have adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells.  The adult cells are for healing or to make more of a certain cells where there is damage or growth needed.  With embryonic cells, they are for the development of the fetus. 

With this newly discovered process, the University of Cambridge team says they can reprogram 'late-outgrowth endothelial progenitor cells' (L-EPCs) and turn them into stem cells, which is much easier than using adult tissue samples.  Furthermore, stem cells taken from other donors can and are often rejected by the body.  By using cells derived from the patient’s own blood, it'll help to mitigate the rejection involved.

Another part of the research that could prove to be beneficial is that the blood derived cells do not have to be converted immediately.  Those working on the project stated that they could freeze and store the regular blood cells for later use, and then convert them over to the iPSC the patient might need later on.  Dr. Amer Rhana who is part of the project stated, “Tissue biopsies are undesirable, particularly for children and the elderly – whereas taking blood samples is routine for all patients.”