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Scientists Can Make Artificial Blood — And It Could Be In Use Sooner Than You Might Think
April 15, 2014
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(Photo: DAVID EBENER/AFP/GettyImages)

For years, Hollywood makeup and props people have been perfecting the art of fake blood. Just take a look at this:

But what if artificial blood wasn't just corn starch and food colouring? What if it could be used for medical purposes — like real blood, only mass-produced and more widely available when it's needed. Well, that might not be such a far-off dream after all. 

A team of scientists in England have come up with a technique to produce Type O (that's the universal one) red blood cells from human stem cells generated from other adult cells. Now, the team announced that the blood is ready for human testing, a process that could begin as early as 2016.

"Although similar research has been conducted elsewhere, this is the first time anybody has manufactured blood to the appropriate quality and safety standards for transfusion into a human being,” said Marc Turner, the chief researcher on the project, which was funded by the UK's Wellcome Trust.

If the first transfusion of artificial blood into humans goes ahead and is successful, it could be a major boon to ensuring effective, efficient and hygienic medical treatment around the world. Artificial blood would be free of infection, and would be readily available — the idea is to scale production exponentially so that it becomes widely available. That could also shrink costs typically associated with blood transfusions (currently, a unit of blood in Britain costs about 120 pounds (about $220), the Telegraph reports)

Of course, Turner's work is being done on a very small scale, and getting it to mass production is still many years away. 

“It’s one thing to bake a cake and another thing to bake a cake 100 times the size,” said Turner. “It’s not just a matter of putting in 100 times the ingredients.”

Via The Telegraph

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