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Tags: blood | lab-grown | manufactured | donation | rare | type | sickle cell

First Humans Receive Transfusions of Lab-Grown Blood

scientist studying blood samples in a lab
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Monday, 07 November 2022 01:50 PM EST

Two patients in the U.K. have received transfusions of blood that has been grown in a laboratory as part of the first landmark clinical trial to see how it behaves in humans. If successful, the researchers say the technology could help people with blood disorders and rare blood types.

According to CNBC, the first stage of the clinical trial will be extended to 10 patients over the course of several months. The study aims to compare the lifespan of the lab-grown cells to standard infusion of red blood cells. While the scientists say that that the experimental technology is not meant to replace regular human blood donations, it may prove invaluable for people suffering from conditions like sickle cell anemia who depend on regular transfusions. It would also help those with rare blood types who need transfusion for treatment of their medical conditions.

If the blood is not a precise match, then the body starts to reject it and the treatment fails, says the BBC. This level of tissue matching goes beyond the well-known A, B, AB, and O groups.

Ashley Toye, a professor of cell biology at the University of Bristol, and part of the study research team, said some blood groups were “really, really rare” and there “might be 10 people in the country” able to donate.

“This world leading research lays the groundwork for the manufacture of red blood cells that can safely be used to transfuse people with disorders like sickle cell,” said Dr. Farrukh Shah, medical director of Transfusion for NHS Blood and Transplant, one of the collaborators on the project.

The lab-grown blood is derived from a regular donation of blood. Magnetic beads are used to detect stem cells that can become red blood cells, says CNBC. The stem cells are placed in a nutrient solution for three weeks until they mature. They are then filtered in the same way regular blood donations are to remove white blood cells before being stored and later transfused to patients.

An initial pool of around half a million stem cells results in 50 billion red blood cells, says the BBC. After they are filtered, there are around 15 billion red blood cells that are at the right stage of development to transplant.

The lab-grown cells in the trial are marked with a radioactive substance to monitor how long they last in the body. The 10 volunteers for the trial will each receive two donations of 5-10 milliliters at least four months apart. They will receive one of normal blood and one of lab-grown blood so that the researchers can compare their lifespans. The hope is that a superior lifespan of lab-grown blood could mean patients require fewer transfusions over time.

The new technology, if it proves effective, will be costly, say researchers, and the stem cells will eventually exhaust themselves, which limits how much blood can be grown. Further research is needed to determine how to produce the amount of blood needed clinically.

“The need for normal blood donations to provide the vast majority of blood will remain,” says Shah. “But the potential for this work to benefit hard to transfuse patients is very significant.” 

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Health-News
Two patients in the U.K. have received transfusions of blood that has been grown in a laboratory as part of the first landmark clinical trial to see how it behaves in humans. If successful, the researchers say the technology could help people with blood disorders and rare...
blood, lab-grown, manufactured, donation, rare, type, sickle cell, first
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2022-50-07
Monday, 07 November 2022 01:50 PM
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