Lessons from Biology: Engineering Design Considerations for Modeling Human Hematopoiesis

Adult human hematopoiesis resides in the bone marrow (BM), which is comprised of multiple niches capable of supporting hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs), as well as their downstream lineages. In maintaining the blood-forming cells of the body, the BM microenvironment is spatially regulated by a number of stromal support cells to maintain HSPCs and promote their differentiation in response to exogenous stimuli (e.g., injury, regeneration, disease). Although mouse models are the gold standard for studying hematopoietic biology, in vitro models are gaining acceptance in studies of human-centered, patient-specific functions of blood and immune progenitors. Recent Findings Over the past 5–10 years, model systems of the BM, including ossicles, engineered tissues, and organs-on-a-chip, have emerged as new vehicles to study both healthy and malignant hematopoiesis. Summary In this review, we describe progress in bioengineered tools for studying the BM, as well as design considerations necessary for developing more advanced systems for precision medicine and translational applications.