Growth factors and their impact on transfusion medicine

Yvette M. Miller, Harvey G. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Hematopoietic growth factors, glycoproteins that stimulate self-renewal, differentiation, and proliferation of responsive hematopoietic cells, promise to revolutionize transfusion medicine. Recombinant DNA technology has made several of these cytokines available at pharmacologic doses, and new candidate agents for clinical application appear regularly. Growth factors prescribed for patients have already reduced the requirement for red blood cell and granulocyte transfusions in selected clinical circumstances. A lineage-specific thrombopoietin will likely limit the need for platelet transfusions. Hematopoietic cytokine injections have also been used to increase tile number of red blood cells, granulocytes and circulating primitive progenitor cells in blood donors. Cytokine-stimulated peripheral blood progenitor cell infusions have complemented and, in some instances, replaced bone marrow for adjunctive cancer chemotherapy and for bone marrow transplantation. Finally, synergistic combinations of cytokines can effect ex vivo expansion of lymphocytes and of progenitor cells to provide novel blood components. Hematopoietic growth factors are still expensive and their long-term effects remain to be determined. However, as the biologic activities of cytokines and the physiology of hematopoietic progenitor cells become better understood, the clinical application of novel cellular components may redefine the concept of blood transfusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-204
Number of pages9
JournalVox Sanguinis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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