Biomedical Engineering Seminar: Biological and engineering challenges in biomanufacture of human platelets for transfusion
Old Metallurgy Building
T: (03) 8344 6606
Platelets are small, enucleated blood cells that play critical roles in maintaining blood vessel integrity and tissue repair. Platelets survive for only 5-7 days and their number within blood needs to be maintained above a critical threshold to prevent spontaneous bleeding. In severe cases of low platelet counts, platelet transfusion is the treatment of choice. However, globally, the supply of fresh human platelets from volunteer donors often outstrips demand.
This talk discusses technology developed for large-scale biomanufacture of these cells from haemopoietic stem cells. An underpinning aspect of this technology development is the desire to replicate the process of platelet production in vivo. This is a truly amazing biological process involving controlled differentiation of stem cells to ultimately produce a large polyploid cell, the megakaryocyte and the final conversion of these cells to platelets. In vivo, the final stages of platelet production occur within the bone marrow where megakaryocytes align on the subluminal surface of small sinusoids. In this location, megakaryocytes are induced to undergo conversion of their cytoplasm into long extensions that penetrate through or between endothelial cells then ultimately fragment to shed platelets directly into the circulation. This presentation will highlight how we are trying to replicate this process by developing surfaces that expand stem cells, porous scaffolds for megakaryocytes support and controlled sheer stress to induce platelet shedding.