This might sound like something straight out of a criminal investigation TV show but rest assured this is real. A trial is all that stands between blood production on a wider scale. It would involve production of artificial blood derived from stem cells and tested on patients which would be a first. This is an attempt to re-engineer human body that has previously been accounted for by 3D printing technology. The 3D printed prosthetics are the latest contribution in that regard.
The principal researcher, Marc Turner and his team used a special technique to make red blood cells conducive for transfusion. Red blood cells from the induced pluripotent stem cells are extracted and cultured. These cells are then allowed to mature into red blood cells by recreating biochemical environment that mimics the same conditions in a human body. Professor Turner agrees that research along these lines has been conducted before but no one had produced artificial blood that conformed to the standards required for clinical transfusion until now. The trial is targeted at three Thalassemia patients once it concludes by the end of year 2016. Once that comes to pass, the blood cells artificially produced will be examined.
This type O blood is considered completely disease free and suited to all sorts of patients. Professor Turner believes that there are various parts of the world where transfusion of blood is still a huge problem. He believes that an unlimited supply of this blood would be an effective means of treating all such problems. Ofcourse, wide scale production in order to bridge the gap between demand and supply would be a great challenge. Professor Turner explains why: “A single unit of blood contains a trillion red blood cells. There are 2 million units of blood transfused in the UK each year.”
At present, a single unit of blood transfused equals a cost of 120GBP. If the technique devised by Professor Turner is employed, it could cut down costs. Let’s see if the human blood donor can be replaced by artificial means anytime soon.