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The World inMedicine
February 16, 2005

Culturing Blood

JAMA. 2005;293(7):790. doi:10.1001/jama.293.7.790-c

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 . 2005;23:69-74).

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.

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