Stop the bleeding: New way to restore numbers of key blood-clotting cells

October 25, 2010

Platelets are cells in the blood that have a key role in stopping bleeding. Thrombocytopenia is the medical term used to describe the presence of abnormally low numbers of platelets in the blood. Platelet transfusion is used to treat several causes of thrombocytopenia, but there is a shortage of donors. Mortimer Poncz and colleagues, at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, working with mice, have now identified a potential new approach to platelet replacement therapy that circumvents the problem of donor shortage.

Platelets in the blood arise from known as megakaryocytes. In the study, Poncz and colleagues found that mature megakaryocytes that were infused into mice could generate platelets of normal size and function.

They therefore are hopeful that it might be possible to treat individuals with through mature megakaryocyte infusion, although they estimate that 10^9 mature megakaryocytes might be needed for an average 70-kg patient.

Although Andrew Leavitt, at the University of California, San Francisco, notes in an accompanying commentary, that this might be a low estimate, he discuses why the new data generated by Poncz and colleagues are an important step forward in identifying new approaches to platelet replacement therapy.

More information: View this article at:

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Mitochondria control stem cell fate

October 27, 2016

What happens in intestinal epithelial cells during a chronic illness? Basic research conducted at the Chair of Nutrition and Immunology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) addressed this question by generating a new ...

Hormone that controls maturation of fat cells discovered

October 25, 2016

Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered a hormone that controls the first step in the maturation of fat cells. Its actions help explain how high-fat diets, stress and certain steroid medications ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.