Red blood cells from induced pluripotent stem cells: hurdles and developments


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Abstract

Purpose of reviewIn the context of chronic blood supply difficulties, generating cultured red blood cells (cRBCs) in vitro after amplification of stem cells makes sense. This review will focus on the recent findings about the generation of erythroid cells from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and deals with the hurdles and next developments that will occur.Recent findingsThe most proliferative source of stem cells for generating cRBCs is the cord blood, but this source is limited in terms of hematopoietic stem cells and dependent on donations. Pluripotent stem cells are thus the best candidates and potential sources of cRBCs. Critical advances have led towards the in-vitro production of functional RBCs from iPS cells in the last few years.SummaryBecause iPS cells can proliferate indefinitely and can be selected for a phenotype of interest, they are potential candidates to organize complementary sources of RBCs for transfusion. Proof of concept of generating cRBCs from iPS cells has been performed, but the procedures need to be optimized to lead to clinical application in blood transfusion. Several crucial points remain to be resolved. Notably these include the choice of the initial cell type to generate iPS cells, the method of reprogramming, that is, to ensure the safety of iPS cells as clinical grade, the optimization of erythrocyte differentiation, and the definition of good manufacturing practice (GMP) conditions for industrial production.

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