Platelets are anucleated cells that play vital roles in clotting and maintaining internal body functions. Platelet disorders require time-consuming and resource-intensive transfusions. Donated platelets have a shelf-life of just five days and require HIV and blood-borne disease testing.
Synthetic biology has been used to create engineered megakaryocyte (MK) cells that differentiate into platelets in vitro. This creates a new source of platelets independent of donors to treat diseases associated with low platelet counts. This platform biotechnology/bioengineering technology has additional applications in systemic and targeted cell therapy. Of note, the MK cells are capable of being engineered to produce the non-nucleated platelets carrying therapeutic agents as well as to express specific receptors enabling targeted delivery.