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Home Industry News New stem cell discovery ‘could address platelet shortages’

New stem cell discovery ‘could address platelet shortages’

15th August 2013

Scientists funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) have identified a new type of bone marrow stem cell that could be used to produce platelets in large quantities.

This previously undiscovered subset of blood stem cells has been isolated in mice and has been shown to help self-renew and produce other cell types that make up the blood, but are specifically optimised for platelet production.

Transplanting just one of these platelet-primed stem cells into mice lacking their own bone marrow was enough to stably restore more than ten per cent of their platelets.

Platelets are essential in the blood clotting process and are often required by patients who have undergone chemotherapy or bone marrow transplants, but donated platelets can only be stored for a few days and demand often outstrips supply.

Professor Alastair Poole, a platelet biologist and member of the MRC's Molecular and Cellular Medicine Board, said: "Since platelets are key to blood clotting and loss of platelets can lead to potentially life-threatening bleeding disorders, this discovery of a potent platelet-generating stem cell in the bone marrow has exciting potential."

Severe blood disorders or life-threatening bleeding due to trauma and surgery can also lead to patients requiring platelet transfusions.ADNFCR-8000103-ID-801625695-ADNFCR

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