Progress and obstacles towards generating hematopoietic stem cells from pluripotent stem cells

Lee J, Dykstra B, Sackstein R, Rossi DJ. Curr Opin Hematol. 2015 Jul;22(4):317-23. doi: 10.1097/MOH.0000000000000147. Review. PMID: 26049752

Human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) have the potential to provide an inexhaustible source of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that could be used in disease modeling and in clinical applications such as transplantation. Although the goal of deriving definitive HSCs from PSCs has not been achieved, recent studies indicate that progress is being made. This review will provide information on the current status of deriving HSCs from PSCs, and will highlight existing challenges and obstacles.

Recent strides in HSC generation from PSCs has included derivation of developmental intermediates, identification of transcription factors and small molecules that support hematopoietic derivation, and the development of strategies to recapitulate niche-like conditions.

Despite considerable progress in defining the molecular events driving derivation of hematopoietic progenitor cells from PSCs, the generation of robust transplantable HSCs from PSCs remains elusive. We propose that this goal can be facilitated by better understanding of the regulatory pathways governing HSC identity, development of HSC supportive conditions, and examining the marrow homing properties of PSC-derived HSCs.