Researchers have successfully developed artificial blood from stem cells allowing them to produce an unlimited supply of artificial red blood cells as per the demand dictates.
For patients with rare blood types, it would be nothing short of a miracle if these artificial blood cells pass clinical trials; at usual red blood cell products are produced from donor blood and its often a struggle for healthcare establishments to find matching blood donors.
Jan Frayne, lead researcher from the University of Bristol, UK says, "Globally, there is a need for an alternative red cell product. Cultured red blood cells have advantages over donor blood, such as reduced risk of infectious disease transmission."
Earlier, researchers would attempt to convert donated stem cells down into mature red blood cells, a technique which had worked but still was flawed ergo an incredibly inefficient process.
An ordinary bag of blood used in hospitals contains approximately 1 trillion red blood cells whereas to put things into perspective; each stem cells makes around 50,000 red blood cells before dying off whilst paving the way for further blood donation.
To resolve this very quandary, the team from the University of Bristol turned adult stem cells into the worldâ€™s first series of â€˜immortalized erythroidâ€™ stem cells â€“ erythroid â€“ pertaining to the process that creates red blood cells.
They've called the cell line Bristol Erythroid Line Adult or BEL-A cells.
To produce these â€˜immortalâ€™ cells, they had to successfully trap adult stem cells in their early stage of development, making it possible for them to divide and create red blood cells indefinitely without dying off, also rendering the need for repeat donations obsolete.
"Previous approaches to producing red blood cells have relied on various sources of stem cells which can only presently produce very limited quantities. We have demonstrated a feasible way to sustainably manufacture red cells for clinical use, we have grown liters of it,â€ Frayne further added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2017