Blood was created artificially: the project is the fruit of a team of researchers from Bristol, Cambridge, London and NHS Blood and Transplant. Red blood cells, was artificially produced in the laboratory through stem cells separated from the blood of donors and transfused into volunteers, for the first time in the world According to the scientists, this trial is the first step towards making laboratory-grown red blood cells available as a future clinical product.
Even if successful, this process in the early future can only be used for a very small number of patients, for the most part people with very complex transfusion needs. The amount of laboratory cultured cells infused was between 5-10 mL.
Donors were selected through the British National Health System. They donated and the stem cells were separated from their blood. These stem cells were then cultured to make red blood cells in a laboratory at NHS Blood and Transplant's Advanced Therapy Unit in Bristol.
Blood recipients were recruited from a sample of healthy subjects. The study, carried out in Cambridge, starts from a test tube of donated blood, through the use of some small magnetic spheres that are used to extract stem cells which, through cultivation in the laboratory, are then able to become a red blood cell.
The quantities that have been transfused are very small, as any post-treatment anomalies are not yet known. Prof. Ashley Toye, of the University of Bristol, explained: "Some sane groups are really, really rare and here in the UK there may be only 10 people able to have them and therefore to donate.
This challenging and exciting test is a huge Springboard for stem cell-derived blood production. This is the first time that lab-grown blood has been transfused and we are excited to see how well the cells perform at the end of the clinical trial." Dr Rebecca Cardigan, NHS Head of Blood Component Development and Transplantation and an Affiliate Lecturer at Cambridge University, told: "It's really great that we are now able to grow enough red blood cells up to medical grade. to enable this study to begin. We look forward to seeing the results."