A team of scientists at the University of Bristol and NHS Blood and Transplant, have made a recent discovery which could revolutionise blood donation.
Although blood can already be produced in the lab, this is on a relatively small scale. This new discovery has uncovered a way to produce an unlimited supply of blood by using a technique which triggers stem cells in their early stages of growth to become red blood cells. This newly discovered technique could therefore solve the problem of scale and the constant need for more donors.
There are challenges with this discovery however, mainly the cost, as well as the need for manufacturing technology required for this method to be effective on a large scale. If these challenges can be overcome and the technology can be successfully engineered, the mass production of red blood cells could help treat specific conditions and save many lives. It could also be particularly ground breaking for people with rare blood types, as priority could be put on mass producing these types of red blood cells. Scientists are therefore planning to make this their next phase of research as well as carrying out safety trials on lab made blood.
If effective large scale manufacturing methods are determined and safety trials are successful, this new method could be used in conjunction with the traditional method of donating blood which would be highly valuable in helping clinicians save lives.
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