Functional human platelets generated in lab

Washington: The US scientists have developed a next-generation platelet bioreactor to generate fully functional human platelets in the lab.

"The ability to generate an alternative source of functional human platelets represents a paradigm shift in how we collect platelets that may allow us meet the growing need for blood transfusions," explained Jonathan Thon from division of hematology at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Massachusetts.

Blood cells, such as platelets, are made in bone marrow.

The bioreactor is "a device that mimics a biological environment to carry out a reaction on an industrial scale". It uses biologically-inspired engineering to fully integrate the major components of bone marrow.

The microfluidic platelet bioreactor recapitulates features such as bone marrow stiffness, extracellular matrix composition, micro-channel size and blood flow stability under high-resolution live-cell microscopy to make human platelets.

Application of shear forces of blood flow in the bioreactor triggered a dramatic increase in platelet initiation from 10 percent to 90 percent, leading to functional human platelets.

"The device will support drug development and scale platelet production," added senior study author Joseph Italiano from division of hematology at BWH.

The human clinical trials to begin in 2017, the study, published in the journal Blood, concluded.

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