Studies on erythropoiesis
The generation of fresh red blood cells (RBCs) from human blood stem cells for transfusion promises better care to patients who require regular transfusions throughout life (e.g. those with thalassemia, sickle cell disease and certain cancers) because these patients will need fewer transfusions, reducing iron loading to important organs such as the heart.
In addition, the production of cultured RBCs from harvested stem cells or alternatively cell lines made from rare donors cells provides a means of providing blood for patients with rare blood types for whom conventional transfusion therapy is problematic because of shortage of supply
Dr Toye is developing new ways to produce enough RBCs to treat patients by:
1.) Trying to grow cells more like they grow in the bone marrow so they grow for longer periods and are potentially cheaper to produce
2.) Improving how the cells mature to the final recognisable RBC so they are easy to isolate and store
This work is being conducted in conjunction with the NIHR BTRU in manufactured red blood cells at the University of Bristol
Dr Toye is also exploring whether he can adapt his methods to generate white blood cells which can be used as a treatment to fight infection in certain patients.