For the first time ever, researchers at Queen's University in Belfast have developed a non-intrusive way to generate large numbers of stem cells using only a small blood sample.
The research has implications for the treatment of a number of diseases.
This discovery could prevent a range of vascular complications including heart attacks, kidney disease, blindness and amputations in people with diabetes.
Up until now, the process to generate the stem cells involved a skin biopsy, a large volume of blood which was not viable for all patients and a long recovery period afterwards.
There are implications for other diseases too - this study focused on stem cells for vascular diseases but the same process could also be used for a number of other organs including the brain and kidneys which, according to the research team, could lead to huge changes in the future of healthcare.