Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Artificial Blood: In a Blood Bank Near You?

News broke yesterday of British Scientists with Wellcome Trust having successfully manufactured Red Blood Cells from Stem Cells.

The Stem Cells these scientists used are actually "Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells" and as the article states, means they were cells that have been "rewound" back to become stem cells. Now for those of you who know your Hematopoesis charts, you know how Blood Cells are formed. For those who don't, here's a short review chart:



From this you can see that White Blood Cells (Myeloid), Red Blood Cells (Erythroid) and Platelets all come from a common progenitor cell. One could glean from this that we are perhaps not far off from having synthetically grown Platelets and WBCs that could be created a patient's own cells or from a cell line without antigens present on the surface.

Benefits to this would be a completely reduced risk of HLA incompatibilities from Platelets or WBCs present in blood products as well as the ability to produced antigen compatible red cell units for patients with multiple antibodies.

Of course the other benefit would be having more blood available due to not having to rely on the generosity of donors to keep the blood supply well stocked. This would also reduce the amount of testing required on blood units and perhaps even increase the longevity of units!

More Links on Artificial Blood:

How Stuff Works

Romanian Scientist on Artificial Blood

-K

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