Science and technology have helped medical science tackle a lot of problems and unlock a number of barriers. We have seen artificial organs in action and we have witnessed artificial hearts saving lives of patients. Naturally, the next step is to come up with blood that is synthetic. Although it has been produced before but this time the aim is to come up with blood that can be used for blood transfusion. This would greatly help humanity because many patients suffer because the right blood type is not available at the right time at the right place.
Wellcome Trust has designated a team of scientists which is working to achieve the goal of preparing artificial blood by employing stem cells. The result is ready to be tested on humans who require transfusion and speculations suggest that this research will also allow for mass production of blood. So how does this work? First of all, cells are collected from human body and stem cells are created by a process which can be considered as ‘rewinding’. Afterwards, human body’s conditions are imitated which results in the stem cells converting into red blood cells. The research is targeted on type O blood since it is the universal donor blood group.
As mentioned earlier, this time the finished product satisfies the transfusion standards required for humans. The first clinical test on humans will be carried out in late 2016 or early 2017. This research will also facilitate the production of blood on a larger scale which will eventually help hospitals in coping up with the blood shortage. The only reservation is the fact that this process must be insanely efficient and speedy since only in US, transfusions involve 14 million units of blood and one unit of blood contains a trillion of red blood cells.
The process being used at the Wellcome Trusts isn’t the kind that can be used on an industrial scale but we are hopeful that this research will prove useful when it comes to a method that is feasible when it comes to mass production.