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Artificial Blood Could Be Available For Transfusions In Just Two Years

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Artificial Blood Could Be Available For Transfusions In Just Two Years

Artificial Blood Could Be Available For Transfusions In Just Two YearsIn just two years, patients from the UK could benefit from artificially created blood from stem cells, according to scientists from two prestigious British universities. Researchers argue that this innovation will save thousands of lives while eliminating the problem of insufficient blood stocks in hospitals.

Experts from the Universities of Edinburgh and Bristol have created for the first time, thousands of millions of red blood cells from stem cells that originated from the bone marrow. This amount is not sufficient as regular transfusions are requiring on average, about 2.5 million million red cells.

Researchers hope to succeed in creating artificial blood from human embryos stem cells harvested in the first days of life. Embryonic stem cells can allow them to create more red blood cells , but failed in succeeding so far. Researchers say that, once discovered the best method for obtaining embryonic stem cells, a single embryo could be the source of all blood cells required for transfusions performed in the UK.

Professor Marc Turner from University of Edinburgh intends to create a supply of cells, with Type O negative blood type, as this type of artificial blood will be compatible with 98% of the UK patients. Designing artificial blood could be a solution for developing countries, where thousands of women die each year from  birth haemorrhages.

Artificial Blood

Artificial Blood

Dr. Turner says that in the next 2-3 years, artificial blood created from stem cells will be tested on healthy volunteers. This will be the first test of its kind in British history. The researcher predicts that in about a decade or two, artificial blood will be widely used in Britain. In about 20 years, production of artificial blood in the UK will rise to 2 million pints ( 1 imperial pint = 568,261 ml), covering all medical needs of the country.

Embryonic stem cells used to create artificial blood will come from 4-5 days-old embryos that remained unused after artificial insemination treatments and donated to research. Critics argue that the use of unborn children is immoral for medical progress. Dr. Turner’s reaction to their complaints is firm: “˜There is a lot of regulatory framework to ensure that the cells are being  treated with the appropriate respect and being used for genuine scientific and medical reasons and not in a trivial fashion.'

However, European courts have recently banned patents on embryonic stem cell-based treatments, which will reduce the number of studies on this cell type in Europe and Dr Turner will probably have to switch to other sources of red blood cells.