Jeff Angileri
Jul 8, 2009, 9:56 PM

A breakthrough in stem cell research Wednesday -- scientists at a west side company say they have made stem cells from human blood cells, in what could be a major stop forward in personalized medicine.

Like thousands of scientists around the world, medical researchers at Cellular Dynamics International are trying to figure out how diseases happen.

If you want to understand Huntington's Disease, if you want to understand multiple sclerosis, it would be extraordinarily powerful if you could have a sampling of people who suffer from that disease, said David Snyder, CFO.

Now, for the first time ever, they say it is possible. Using adult blood cells, researchers are creating induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells -- the kind that can turn into any type of cell in the body.

We take take actual blood from a patient, generate their very own cells, and turn that into cellular therapy, Snyder said.

These stem cells are not created from embryos, but work the same, and have the same medical potential. Using adult blood instead of embryos means researches have much more information about a person's medical history.

Scientists say what's remarkable about this discovery is it comes from a readily available resource. Blood is easy to draw, easy to store, and there are millions of samples around the word from which to choose.

The next step is to share the knowledge.

We're going to make billions and billions of these cells so pharmaceutical therapies around the world can have a regular and continuos supply of these cells for study, said Snyder.

And someday, researchers hope, find treatments and cures for mankind's most debilitating diseases, tailored to a person's own body, a perfect genetic match.

Though, people at CDI point out practical treatments of stem cells in hospitals and clinics are still a long ways away.