Ex-vivo expansion of red blood cells: How real for transfusion in humans?

Anna Rita Migliaccio, Elena Masselli, Lilian Varricchio, Carolyn Whitsett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Blood transfusion is indispensable for modern medicine. In developed countries, the blood supply is adequate and safe but blood for alloimmunized patients is often unavailable. Concerns are increasing that donations may become inadequate in the future as the population ages prompting a search for alternative transfusion products. Improvements in culture conditions and proof-of-principle studies in animal models have suggested that ex-vivo expanded red cells may represent such a product. Compared to other cell therapies transfusion poses the unique challenge of requiring great cell doses (2.5×10 12 cells vs 10 7 cells). Although production of such cell numbers is theoretically possible, current technologies generate red cells in numbers sufficient only for safety studies. It is conceived that by the time these studies will be completed, technical barriers to mass cell production will have been eliminated making transfusion with ex-vivo generated red cells a reality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-95
Number of pages15
JournalBlood Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Ex-vivo generated erythroblasts
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Growth factors
  • Red blood cell transfusion


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