Red blood cells and platelets are anucleate blood components indispensable for oxygen delivery and hemostasis, respectively. Derivation of these blood elements from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells has the potential to develop blood donor-independent and genetic manipulation-prone products to complement or replace current transfusion banking, also minimizing the risk of alloimmunization. While the production of erythrocytes from iPS cells has challenges to overcome, such as differentiation into adult-type phenotype that functions properly after transfusion, platelet products are qualitatively and quantitatively approaching a clinically-applicable level owing to advances in expandable megakaryocyte (MK) lines, platelet-producing bioreactors, and novel reagents. Guidelines that assure the quality of iPS cells-derived blood products for clinical application represent a novel challenge for regulatory agencies. Considering the minimal risk of tumorigenicity and the expected significant demand of such products, ex vivo production of iPS-derived blood components can pave the way for iPS translation into the clinic.
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