DAA Daily

Lab-grown blood given to people in world-first clinical trial

By Arshan Chowdhury, Staff Reporter, The Pawprint DAA

Blood that has been grown in a lab has been given to people in a world-first clinical trial, according to British researchers.
A small amount – the equivalent of a few spoonfuls – is tested to see how it works inside the body. Much of blood transfusion will still depend on people regularly rolling up their sleeves to donate, but the ultimate goal is to create important, but extremely rare, hard-to-find blood types. These are necessary for people who depend on regular blood transfusions because of diseases such as sickle cell anemia.

The research project combines teams in Bristol, Cambridge, London and at NHS Blood and Transplant. It focuses on the red blood cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. The process takes about three weeks and an initial pool of around half a million stem cells results in 50 billion red blood cells, which are then filtered down to get around 15 billion red blood cells that are at the right stage of development to transplant.

Dr Farrukh Shah, the medical director of transfusion at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “This world-leading research lays the groundwork for the manufacture of red blood cells that can safely be used to transfuse people with disorders like sickle cell. “The potential for this work to benefit hard to transfuse patients is very significant.”

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