Artificial stem cell blood available in 10 years
As part of Healthcare Global's look back at 2011, we revisited this story from October...
A group of researchers are claiming that within the next three years, artificial blood manufactured from stem cells will be at the clinical trial stage.
The Scottish scientists, who are from the University of Edinburgh, are also hopeful that the artificial blood will be ready for patient-wide use within a decade.
This comes after they have found a way of extracting stem cells from bone marrow and then growing them in a laboratory, creating cells with the ability to transport oxygen around the body.
However, there are concerns a European ban on patenting creations made with human embryonic stem cells will drive away potential investors into the project.
The man responsible for cloning Dolly the Sheep, Edinburgh University’s Professor Sir Ian Wilmut, told The Independent newspaper: “Unfortunately it will make it less likely that companies in Europe will invest in the research to develop treatments to use embryonic stem cells for treatment of human disease.”
The group of scientists are creating blood compatible with the O rhesus negative blood group, dubbed as the universal donor group because 98 percent of patients’ bodies accept it, despite only 7 percent of people producing it themselves.
Marc Turner, who is leading the trial, is quoted in a Fox News report as saying: “Our current program will take another year to 18 months and by then we hope to have red cells of suitable quality and to go forward into trials.”
If successful, the creation of synthetic blood could prove to be hugely valuable in the healthcare field, particularly in emergency situations such as war zones and for ambulance treatments.
Additionally, in parts of the world where blood banks are non-existent or running low on stocks, artificial blood would be particularly well received.
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