Blood is a minefield….

The ability to replicate the formation of human blood cells from iPSCs would allow the generation of patient matched blood in the laboratory for use in modelling disease and developing a cellular therapy for patients requiring a haematopoietic stem cell transplant but lacking an ideally matched donor.

Body area Blood and immune system


Stem cell transplant is a life saving therapy for people with blood cancers or bone marrow failure. We can generate patient-specific blood stem cells in the laboratory as an alternate source of donor stem cells for transplants which can greatly help with donor mismatch, which leads to graft-versus-host disease. This requires reprogramming patient cells into pluripotent stem cells and then differentiating them into blood stem cells in the laboratory.

reNEW research

reNEW Melbourne’s PIs Elizabeth Ng, Andrew Elefanty and Ed Stanley and their teams have developed a protocol which yields blood stem cell-like cells from human pluripotent stem cells. This is a significant step towards generating cells for both modelling and cell therapy applications.

Image description

The image shows aggregates of differentiating iPSCs with cellular protrusions the surface, appearing like the spikes on a sea mine. These transient accumulations of cells represent blood cells being ‘born’, as they undergo an endothelial to haematopoietic transition from underlying endothelium towards blood cells.


Experiment by Dr Elizabeth Ng, image by Prof Andrew Elefanty, Blood Development Laboratory, MCRI.