Red Blood Cells (RBCs):
We are focused on developing universal, donorless red blood cells in order to help alleviate shortages of blood types encountered in emergency situations. Using our hemangioblast technology, we have shown that functional, oxygen-carrying erythrocytes (red blood cells) can be derived from hESCs (Blood, 112: 4475-4484, 2008) and are now optimizing the system for improved efficiency and large scale production.
Platelets, which are derived from megakaryocytes, are critical for clot formation, cessation of bleeding, and vascular repair. In order to meet increasing demand for these life-saving blood components, we are differentiating pluripotent stem cells into megakaryocytes/platelets with the goal of producing a transfusable product capable of generating and/or immediately replacing platelets.
Bone Marrow Repopulating Cells:
Suitable, HLA-matched bone marrow donors may not always be available for patients requiring transfusions. We are exploring the utility of hESC (or iPSC) -derived hemangioblasts as an alternative, effective, and readily available bone marrow repopulating cell source. In addition, these efforts could potentially reduce or even eliminate histoincompatibility issues for transplant recipients.