GROWING RED BLOOD CELLS IN THE LAB. If we can 3D print organs, why can’t we mass-produce blood? After all, blood is a tissue. With ever-growing worldwide demand for safe blood, there is much interest in generating red blood cells, a major component of blood, in vitro in a lab. The in vitro cultured red blood cells can have various potential advantages over donor blood, mainly reduced the risk of contagious disease transmission. What they did were ‘reprogrammed’ stem cells to form red blood cells. In collaboration with NHS Blood and Transplant, they have developed a novel method to mass-produce an unlimited supply of red blood cells.
Professor David Anstee, Director of the Bristol Institute for Transfusion Sciences says, “The first therapeutic use of a cultured red cell product is likely to be for patients with rare blood groups because suitable conventional red blood cell donations can be difficult to source.”
Possibly, in near future, these in-vitro grown cells could potentially provide a steady source of red blood cells where blood supplies are inadequate or unsafe.