Artificial blood created from stem cells in the lab could be tested on humans within two years and could be available for routine transfusions in a decade, scientists behind the breakthrough have claimed.
The scientists believe their work will transform transfusions by preventing hospital shortages, and save thousands of lives on battlefields and at the scene of car crashes, by providing industrial scale quantities of blood.
The man-made blood would be free of infections that have blighted natural supplies and could be given to almost everyone regardless of blood group, the Daily Mail reported.
The hope comes from Edinburgh and Bristol university researchers, who have for the first time made thousands of millions of red blood cells from stem cells – ‘master cells’ seen as a repair kit for the body – taken from bone marrow.
Edinburgh University’s Professor Marc Turner hopes to make a supply of cells with the O-negative blood type. This ‘universal donor’ blood could be given to up to 98 per cent of the population.
Turner predicts that in two to three years, he will be ready to inject a teaspoon of man-made blood into healthy volunteers, in the first British trial of blood from stem cells.
Large-scale trials would follow, but the blood could be in routine use in a decade. Within 20 years, it may be possible to produce two million pints of artificial blood a year – enough to satisfy the nation’s medical needs.