05 December 2018

Scientists have successfully grown platelets from stem cells derived from adipose tissue, it has been announced. The discovery could revolutionise platelet-based therapies, reducing reliance on donors, experts said. The work from Tokyo was published in the journal Blood.

The researchers made the discovery by chance whilst conducting experiments that sought to derive platelets from induced pluripotent stem cells. They were using adipose derived cells as a control – but found instead they produced cells able to express several genes involved in producing platelets.

After refining the methods to generate platelets from adipose‑derived stem cells, the researchers compared them to natural donated platelets. They found that the lab-grown platelets had the same key proteins as the natural platelets, and clotted in a similar way in experiments with mice.

The American Society of Hematology, which publishes Blood, said the findings suggest “manufactured platelets could eventually reduce the reliance on donated platelets to help patients with cancer and other disorders.”

Researcher Dr Yumiko Matsubara, of Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo, Japan, said "by removing the donor from the equation, adipose-derived stem cells could be used to provide a ready supply of safe, tolerable platelets to meet an ever-changing demand.

"Though more expensive to harvest compared to donor-derived platelets, this research demonstrates that platelets can be produced from adipose-derived cells by a rather simple method.

"Now that we have established an efficient manufacturing process to yield a large number of adipose-derived platelets, we next plan to perform pre-clinical studies using animal models to demonstrate efficacy and safety, followed by clinical trials in human patients."

Source: Tozawa, K., Ono-Uruga, Y., Yazawa, M., Mori, T., Murata, M., Okamoto, S., Ikeda, Y., Matsubara, Y. (2018) “Unique megakaryocytes and platelets from novel human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cell line”, Blood, available at doi: 10.1182/blood-2018-04-842641


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