The generation of cultured red blood cells from stem cell sources may fill an unmet clinical need for transfusion dependent patients, particularly in countries that lack a sufficient and safe blood supply. Cultured red blood cells were generated from human CD34+ cells from adult peripheral blood or cord blood by ex vivo expansion and a comprehensive in vivo survival comparison with standard red cell concentrates was undertaken. Significant amplification (>105 fold) was achieved using CD34+ cells from both cord blood and peripheral blood, generating high yields of enucleated cultured red blood cells. Following transfusion, higher levels of cultured red cells could be detected in the murine circulation compared to standard adult red cells. The proportions of cultured blood cells from cord or peripheral blood sources remained high 24 hours post transfusion (82±5% and 78±9%, respectively), while standard adult blood cells declined rapidly to only 49±9% by this time. In addition, the survival time of cultured blood cells in mice was longer than that of standard adult red cells. A paired comparison of cultured blood cells and standard adult red blood cells from the same donor confirmed the enhanced in vivo survival capacity of the cultured cells. This study represents the first demonstration that ex vivo generated cultured red blood cells survive longer than donor red cells using an in vivo model that more closely mimics clinical transfusion. Cultured red blood cells may offer advantages for transfusion dependent patients by reducing the number of transfusions required.
Kupzig, S., Parsons, SF., Curnow, E., Anstee, D., & Blair, A. (2017). Superior survival of ex vivo cultured human reticulocytes following transfusion into mice: Superior in vivo survival of cultured reticulocytes. Haematologica, 102(3), 476-483. https://doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2016.154443