Red blood cells are, by far, the most abundant cells in the blood; they have a critical role providing the oxygen and carrying away carbon dioxide. Transfusions save lives but red blood cells supply is more and more difficult. Therefore the idea of mimicking in vitro the in vivo red blood cell production comes up. This review focuses on the latest patents which have explored the potential of ex vivo manufacturing of red blood cells from hematopoietic stem cells or pluripotent embryonic and/or adult stem cells, thanks to the use of specific media, pivotal cytokine cocktails, extra cellular matrices, hypoxia and/or bioreactors. However since none of the patents is GMP-compliant, or ensure a sufficient production rate or assess the functionality of the produced cells, many critical points remain to be investigated to produce in vitro on a large scale basis safe and functional red blood cells.
Keywords: Hematopoietic stem cells, transfusion, pluripotent stem cells, red blood cells, mass production, bioreactor
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