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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