Human volunteers will receive lab-made ‘synthetic blood’ transfusions

Synthetic blood that’s been produced in the lab using umbilical cord stem cells and donated blood looks so good, a world-first human trial has been approved for 2017. Volunteers will receive transfusions of just a few teaspoons of the synthetic blood to test for adverse effects as it circulates the body. If the manufactured blood cells can avoid triggering the body’s immune response, they could be a huge help for specialised treatments right away, and could be stockpiled for emergency transfusions in years to come.

“Scientists across the globe have been investigating for a number of years how to manufacture red blood cells to offer an alternative to donated blood to treat patients,” one of the team, Nick Watkins from the US National Health Service’s (NHS) Blood and Transplant unit, said to James O Malley at Gizmodo. “We are confident that by 2017 our team will be ready to carry out the first early phase clinical trials in human volunteers.”

The blood cells come in two different types – those cultured from the stem cells of discarded umbilical cords, and those made from the stem cells of adult blood cells. So far, lab tests have shown that both compare well to ordinary red blood cells that are produced by healthy people, Watkins telling Steve Connor at The Independent that they are “comparable, if not identical, to the cells from a donor”. Source: Human volunteers will receive lab-made ‘synthetic blood’ transfusions

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