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Finger-prick technique opens door for DIY stem cell donors

• http://www.gizmag.com, By Grant Banks
The reality is intrusive measures such as these can be very off-putting. But what if it was as simple as a finger-prick? Such a DIY approach, which is so easy it can be done at home or in the field without medical staff, has been developed by researchers at Singapore's A*STAR Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB).
Unlike previous techniques that require comparatively large cell samples, the ICMB team has managed to successfully reprogram mature human cells into hiPSCs with high efficiency using less than a single drop of blood. Pluripotent stem cells are important in many forms of medical research and treatment as they have the potential to become any other cell type in the body.
"It all began when we wondered if we could reduce the volume of blood used for reprogramming," says Dr Loh Yuin Han Jonathan, Principal Investigator at IMCB. "We then tested if donors could collect their own blood sample in a normal room environment and store it. Our finger-prick technique, in fact, utilized less than a drop of finger-pricked blood."
 

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