Doctors may soon be transfusing blood that has never been inside a human body.
Donating blood is an important charitable act that millions of people benefit from each year.
But if you happen to be born with a rare blood type like AB(-), B(-) or O(-), you might worry about hospitals not having enough blood to help you and others out, in a time of emergency. It probably won’t happen, but it could.
A team of scientists from the University of Bristol and NHS Blood and Transplant in England has just figured out a way to help combat that problem, though.
It might sound like something from a science fiction novel, but they’ve developed a method that can successfully make an unlimited supply of red blood cells.
The process involves trapping very young stem cells, at the time when they are growing in number indefinitely and then programming them to become red blood cells.
Replacing real blood?
(photo credit: www.pixabay.com)
Is “fake blood” going to replace blood banks and the practice of using “real” blood, donated from humans?
Not now, at least. Scientists say that’s not likely at this time, because the lab-made blood is so expensive to make, and for this reason researchers will likely remain focused on producing rare blood types only, in order to boost stocks and keep them full.
But it looks very promising. According to a report on BBC.com, Dr. Jan Frayne says the team from Bristol has grown liters of blood so far, and can make more.
Safety-trials for lab-made blood are under works to begin later in 2017.
Vampire writers take note: vats of True Blood may actually be on their way to a hospital near you. The slogan is now actually real: All Flavor. No Bite.