Characterization and amplification of blood cells derived from human dermal fibroblasts

Recently it was shown that cells taken from adult skin could be converted to cells possessing “stem-cell-like” characteristics by a process called cellular reprogramming.  However, the use of these cells is limited by our understanding of how to derive mature and functional cells, such as blood cells that could be used for disease treatment.  We previously showed the ability to generate mature blood cells directly from human skin fibroblasts without establishing a “stem cell-like” state, providing a safer option for cell-replacement therapies.  Our current project proposes to characterize the cellular-mechanism associated with mature blood cell formation from fibroblasts.  Furthermore, we aim to identify chemicals to increase blood cell formation and replace viral-delivery systems used to derive these cells from fibroblasts.  Therefore, the study in partnership with Ontario’s biotechnology/pharmaceutical sectors will provide an exciting new cell source that could be safely used for cell-transportation therapies to treat blood disorders.

Eva Szabo
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Mickie Bhatia