The “successful construction of hematopoietic bioreactors will have a tremendous impact on hematopoietic cell biology and on clinical practice. Such bioreactors would permit the production of mature blood cells, under controlled conditions, for transfusion therapy.”
"With over 30 million units of erythrocytes and over 10 million units of platelets transfused annually, this represents a tremendous demand on the health care system, and a extraordinary opportunity for bioengineering to circumvent the infectious hazards of volunteer donors."
- Emerson et al. J Cell Biochem. 45(3):268-72. 1991
Platelets are Life-Saving and Critical
Platelets are the ‘bandaids’ of the bloodstream.
Over 2 million Americans receive life-saving platelet transfusions annually for cancer treatment, transplants, and surgery.
Platelets are a $20B global market annually.
Supply is Insufficient to Meet Demand
Platelet transfusions are inherently risky due to bacterial/viral contamination.
Platelet units have a <2-day inventory shelf life. This shortfall is exacerbated during emergencies.
First Entrants in Regenerative Medicine
Since platelets don’t have nuclei, they cannot form tumors, which makes them ideal for the first iPS cell clinical trial.
Platelets can be safely irradiated to kill off any nucleated cells that may be contaminating the infusion.
Platelets are short lived (10 days)
Platelets are easily transplanted