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Generation of red blood cells from induced pluripotent stem cells.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are an attractive source to generate in-vitro-derived blood for use as transfusable and reagent red cells. We review recent advancements in the field and the remaining limitations for clinical use.

RECENT FINDINGS: For iPSC-derived red blood cell (RBC) generation, recent work has optimized culture conditions to omit feeder cells, enhance red cell maturation, and produce cells that mimic fetal or adult-type RBCs. Genome editing provides novel strategies to improve cell yield and create designer RBCs with customized antigen phenotypes.

SUMMARY: Current protocols support red cell production that mimics embryonic and fetal hematopoiesis and cell yield sufficient for diagnostic RBC reagents. Ongoing challenges to generate RBCs for transfusion include recapitulating definitive erythropoiesis to produce functional adult-type cells, increasing scalability of culture conditions, and optimizing high-density manufacturing capacity.

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