Blood factory: which stem cells?

Maria Teresa Esposito

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Blood transfusions are often essential for treatment of severe anaemia and pregnancy complications. The unavailability of blood is a medical concern, especially in developing countries. New sources of red blood cells (RBC) are under investigation. Several studies have attempted to produce functional RBC from CD34+ haematopoietic stem cells (HSC) isolated from peripheral blood and umbilical cord blood, from embryonic stem cells (ESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). A recent article published in Nature Communications describes a novel model for generating RBC from a stable erythroid cell line obtained from bone marrow CD34+ haematopoietic stem cells (HSC). The cells generated by this method are phenotypically and functionally adult RBC, that resemble very well the donor RBC. In vivo experiments confirmed no difference in the survival of these RBC and donor RBC. The study therefore highlights that this immortalized line is a promising new source of adult RBC.

© 2018 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10
Number of pages4
JournalBMC Hematology
Issue number10
Early online date10 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Stem cells
  • Red blood cells
  • Blood transfusion

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