A laboratory for the Singapore Science, Technology and Research Agency has succeeded in generating human induced pluripotent stem cells “from a single drop of blood collected after pricking a person’s finger“. This new method involves “transforming mature human cells, generally blood cells, into hiPSCs by genetic reprogramming“. The article adds that as hiPSCs have “remarkably similar properties to embryo stem cells” (hESc), they could, in the long term, replace them, raising significant ethical questions along the way.
The technique is relatively straightforward compared to that currently used which involves collecting cells from the bone marrow or skin – a technique “that could discourage many donors“. Once the drop of blood has been collected, a sample can be prepared by the donor himself/herself, “the sample is stable for 48 hours and the cells can be cultivated in vitro, which could lead to the geographical extension of this approach to donors from different ethnic groups or with different genotypes and presenting with various diseases“.