Cultured human haematopoietic stem cells in the quantities required for blood transfusion could provide worldwide healthcare with a solid alternative to blood donation. Research into erythropoiesis in the embryo and foetus provides us with phase specific growth factors. In vitro generation of red blood cells from haematopoietic stem cells derived from hiPSCs now uses a minimal amount of factors (SCF, EPO, IL-3). The development of large-scale agitated bioreactors opens the doors to the industrial scale production of red blood cells for transfusion purposes. Nielsen et al. demonstrated that 560 units of RBCs can be derived per umbilical cord blood donation. These findings demonstrate the clinical feasibility of producing erythroid cells ex vivo. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (Yamanaka et al. 2010) provide us with unlimited amounts of CD34+ stem cells. Current good manufacturing practice and optimized media resulted in the first clinical cultured red blood cell transfusion into humans (Douay L. et al 2011).
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