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Stem Cells Int. 2012;2012:639561. doi: 10.1155/2012/639561. Epub 2012 Apr 8.

Alternative blood products and clinical needs in transfusion medicine.

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Tisch Cancer Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.


The primary focus of national blood programs is the provision of a safe and adequate blood supply. This goal is dependent on regular voluntary donations and a regulatory infrastructure that establishes and enforces standards for blood safety. Progress in ex vivo expansion of blood cells from cell sources including peripheral blood, cord blood, induced pluripotent stem cells, and human embryonic stem cell lines will likely make alternative transfusion products available for clinical use in the near future. Initially, alloimmunized patients and individuals with rare blood types are most likely to benefit from alternative products. However, in developed nations voluntary blood donations are projected to be inadequate in the future as blood usage by individuals 60 years and older increases. In developing nations economic and political challenges may impede progress in attaining self-sufficiency. Under these circumstances, ex vivo generated red cells may be needed to supplement the general blood supply.

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