French researchers have developed a method for producing red blood cells
from human stem cells of diverse origins, a technique that may help ease blood
shortages in the future (Giarratana et al. Nature Biotechnology .
The method uses a cell culture medium that mimics the bone marrow microenvironment
to multiply the number of stem cells and stimulate their development into
mature red blood cells. The approach might allow large-scale production of
stem cells in sufficient quantities for such clinical applications as blood
transfusions. The technique also may have clinical applications for treating
patients with sickle cell disease. It also may provide a tool for studying
disease agents, such as malaria, that target erythroid cells.
Kuehn BM. Culturing Blood. JAMA. 2005;293(7):790. doi:10.1001/jama.293.7.790-c