Challenges and promises for the development of donor-independent platelet transfusions

Blood. 2013 Apr 25;121(17):3319-24. doi: 10.1182/blood-2012-09-455428. Epub 2013 Jan 15.


Platelet transfusions are often a life-saving intervention, and the use of platelet transfusions has been increasing. Donor-derived platelet availability can be challenging. Compounding this concern are additional limitations of donor-derived platelets, including variability in product unit quality and quantity, limited shelf life and the risks of product bacterial contamination, other transfusion-transmitted infections, and immunologic reactions. Because of these issues, there has been an effort to develop strategies to generate platelets from exogenously generated precursor cells. If successful, such platelets have the potential to be a safer, more consistent platelet product, while reducing the necessity for human donations. Moreover, ex vivo-generated autologous platelets or precursors may be beneficial for patients who are refractory to allogeneic platelets. For patients with inherited platelet disorders, ex vivo-generated platelets offer the promise of a treatment via the generation of autologous gene-corrected platelets. Theoretically, ex vivo-generated platelets also offer targeted delivery of ectopic proteins to sites of vascular injury. This review summarizes the current, state-of-the-art methodologies in delivering a clinically relevant ex vivo-derived platelet product, and it discusses significant challenges that must be overcome for this approach to become a clinical reality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Platelet Disorders / therapy*
  • Blood Platelets / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Platelet Transfusion
  • Tissue Donors*