Advanced Bioreactor that Generates Human Blood Platelets

Monday, July 21, 2014

Blood Generation

A study published in the journal Blood states that scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital have designed a next generation bioreactor which can generate fully functional human blood platelets in vitro.

Blood cells, such as platelets, are naturally produced in the bone marrow. They are very useful in stopping a wound from bleeding by plugging a hole in the skin with a clot. The bioreactor is a device that mimics bone marrow’s composition, blood flow characteristics, extracellular matrix composition and micro-channel size under high-resolution live-cell microscopy on an industrial scale to make human platelets.

By mimicking the bone marrow’s characteristics, the bioreactor triggered a dramatic increase in platelet formation from 10 percent to 90 percent. Senior study author Joseph Italiano said that the research formed a crucial bridge connecting the understanding of physiological triggers of platelet formation to support drug development and scale platelet production. They hope to start human clinical trials on the same from 2017. According to researchers, more than 2.17 million platelet units from donors are transfused every year in the United States to treat patients following a major trauma. The bioreactor derived platelets could largely help such patients.

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