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International Journal of Cell Biology
Volume 2011, Article ID 501464, 6 pages
Review Article

Cellular Reprogramming toward the Erythroid Lineage

School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia

Received 30 March 2011; Accepted 8 May 2011

Academic Editor: Michael Föller

Copyright © 2011 Laura J. Norton et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Haemoglobinopathies such as thalassaemia and sickle cell disease present a major health burden. Currently, the main forms of treatment for these diseases are packed red blood cell transfusions and the administration of drugs which act to nonspecifically reactivate the production of foetal haemoglobin. These treatments are ongoing throughout the life of the patient and are associated with a number of risks, such as limitations in available blood for transfusion, infections, iron overload, immune rejection, and side effects associated with the drug treatments. The field of cellular reprogramming has advanced significantly in the last few years and has recently culminated in the successful production of erythrocytes in culture. This paper will discuss cellular reprogramming and its potential relevance to the treatment of haemoglobinopathies.