Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell–Derived Megakaryocytes and Platelets for Disease Modeling and Future Clinical Applications

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Platelets, derived from megakaryocytes, are anucleate cytoplasmic discs that circulate in the blood stream and play major roles in hemostasis, inflammation, and vascular biology. Platelet transfusions are used in a variety of medical settings to prevent life-threatening thrombocytopenia because of cancer therapy, other causes of acquired or inherited thrombocytopenia, and trauma. Currently, platelets used for transfusion purposes are donor derived. However, there is a drive to generate nondonor sources of platelets to help supplement donor-derived platelets. Efforts have been made by many laboratories to generate in vitro platelets and optimize their production and quality. In vitro-derived platelets have the potential to be a safer, more uniform product, and genetic manipulation could allow for better treatment of patients who become refractory to donor-derived units. This review focuses on potential clinical applications of in vitro-derived megakaryocytes and platelets, current methods to generate and expand megakaryocytes from pluripotent stem cell sources, and the use of these cells for disease modeling.

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