Artificial Blood May Soon Be Mass Produced
Researchers at the University of Bristol and NHS Blood and Transplant have made a major breakthrough in developing a technology capable of mass-producing red blood cells – something researchers have been working on for years in an attempt to meet the demand for the amount of blood required for blood transfusions.
This new technique “has created the world’s first immortalized erythroid cell line that can feasibly churn out a massive amount of red blood cells,” according to IFLScience.com. While scientists have been able to create artificial blood before the process has always been inefficient and cost-prohibitive. The original process can create around 50,000 cells at a time but for a blood transfusion, that number needs to be in the trillions. That’s a huge gap to bridge.
“Scientists have been working for years on how to manufacture red blood cells to offer an alternative to donated blood to treat patients,” Professor Dave Antsee said in an article published by the University of Bristol. “The first therapeutic use of a cultured red cell product is likely to be for patients with rare blood groups because suitable conventional red blood cell donations can be difficult to source.” Antsee co-authored the study related to this technology published in Nature Communications.
IFLScience.com reported that the NHS has no plans to replace conventional blood donations with this technology at this time, although the breakthrough could potentially lead to “the successful production of artificial blood.”