Science & Technology
Speeding up Generation of RBCs in the Lab
- 14 Mar 2020
- 3 min read
Why in News
A team of Indian researchers have invented a process through which generation of Red Blood Cells(RBCs) outside the body (in vitro) from Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs) can be speeded up.
- The invented process would help to fasten the process of transfusion of RBCs in life-saving treatments for numerous conditions such as severe anaemia, transplant surgery, pregnancy-related complications, and blood-related cancers.
- The blood banks, particularly in developing countries, often face a severe shortage of whole blood as well as components of blood like red blood cells.
- Various groups have been able to produce RBCs in the laboratory from HSCs. However, the process takes a long time - around 21 days.
- The umbilical cord blood contains special cells called hematopoietic stem cells that can be used to treat some types of diseases.
- Hematopoietic stem cells can mature into different types of blood cells in the body.
- The resources required to grow cells in the laboratory over such a long duration can be very expensive for the generation of RBCs on a large scale for clinical purposes.
- The process of generation of RBCs in the laboratory from HSCs can be speeded up by adding a very low concentration of a small protein molecule called `Transforming Growth Factor β1’ (TGF-β1), along with a hormone called `Erythropoietin’ (EPO). The whole process takes 18 days.
- Usually, the addition of only Erythropoietin (EPO) to HSCs generate RBCs in 21 days.
- Indian researchers have found that the addition of TGF-β1 with EPO has cut down the processing time by three days.
- The physical appearance and the quality of the cells formed has revealed that the RBCs formed using this procedure are normal.
- Blood is a fluid connective tissue that consists of plasma, blood cells and platelets.
- It helps to circulate oxygen and nutrients to various cells and tissues.
- The major types of blood cells include:
- Red Blood Cell
- The Red Blood Cells (RBCs) are also known as Erythrocytes.
- RBCs contain the iron-rich protein called haemoglobin that gives blood its red colour.
- RBCs are the most copious blood cell produced in bone marrows. Their main function is to transport oxygen from and to various tissues and organs.
- White Blood Cells
- The White Blood Cells (WBCs) are also known as Leucocytes and are the colourless blood cells as it is devoid of haemoglobin.
- It mainly contributes to immunity and defence mechanism.
- Red Blood Cell