Dept. of Clinical Application
Koji Eto (Professor)
Koji Eto M.D. Ph.D.
The successful whole blood transfusion treatment performed by the British physician Blundell in 1825 was followed by the discovery of blood groups A, B, and O in 1900 by Landsteiner and the development of blood donor systems, leading eventually to the establishment of blood component transfusion using erythrocytes and platelets. Now, two hundred years later, the decreasing number of young blood donors and the increasing population of elderly citizens, among whom demand is greatest, is recognized as a problem across developed countries. It is now important to find methods of securing a supply of new blood transfusion products to meet the needs of 50 years hence.
At our laboratory, which works with human iPS cells as a material for investigating erythrocytes and platelet products, we have put in place an environment for seamless coverage from basic research to clinical application. Our graduate school program, meanwhile, aims to elucidate the hematopoietic system overall, the mechanism involved in the gradual differentiation and maturation of megakaryocytes, which are platelet-producing progenitor cells, and the mechanism of erythroblast enucleation, which is fundamental to erythrocytes production. By thus uncovering intricate molecular mechanisms, we will progress with research and development designed to realize a culture system for the efficient development of blood cells from human iPS cells and the exploration of next-generation blood transfusion products (genetically engineered iPS platelets). We have now completed a clinical study begun in 2019 involving the world's first blood transfusion of autologous iPS platelets to subjects with platelet transfusion refractoriness and are now proceeding to the development of next-generation iPS-based platelets and erythrocytes.