Not nearly enough blood is being donated to meet the growing demand, leading to shortages that prevent lives from being saved.
…But new research from the University of Bristol and the U.K.’s National Health Service offers hope with a medical breakthrough that could one day revolutionize the blood transfusion process.
In the study, published March 14 in the journal Nature Communications, the team of British scientists outline their technique for producing a potentially unlimited supply of artificial blood. This means of creating blood could be particularly useful for helping people with extremely rare blood types, the study’s authors note.
Using their new method, the team of scientists was able to arrest development of the stem cells at an early stage during which they multiply indefinitely. When the stem cells are in this multiplying stage, the scientists can trigger them to become red blood cells.
The technique could one day be used to sustainably create blood for use among patients in need, but widespread use in clinical settings could be some years away. The Bristol team only produced several bags of blood ― not nearly enough blood to supply even a single hospital.
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