Stem Cells from Fingertips, A New Technique
Scientists at A*STAR’s Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Singapore developed the finger-prick human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) technique in which a single drop of finger-pricked blood is sufficient for reprogramming into hiPSCs. This technique is the first of its kind and has been filed for patent. Current methods applied to generate hiPSCs involve either large quantities of blood or invasive measures such as bone marrow harvesting.
The scientists were also able to reprogram hiSPCs by using the DIY sample collection approach. With proper instruction and storage, donors collect and store their own finger-pricked blood in a normal room environment, which is then delivered to the laboratory for reprogramming. The red blood cells remain stable for 48 hours and can be followed by 12 days of expansion in the medium. The idea is to extend this new finger-prick technique globally to recruit donors from a diverse population, thereby eliminating the need of a trained phlebotomist.
These single-drop volumes of finger-prick samples are not only sufficient for hiPSCs reprogramming but also allows other procedures including DNA sequencing and blood serotyping. Development of this finger-prick technique would improve the feasibility of large-scale hiPSC banking worldwide. Further information about this technique can be accessed from the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine.