Doctors at the University of Edinburgh have just received the go-ahead to use lab-grown blood in transfusions for three patients with blood disorders starting in 2016. If successful, artificial lab-made blood could be replacing donor blood in transfusions as soon as 2035. *counting on fingers* But that's still ten years away! "Try nineteen." I don't have nineteen fingers. When reached for comment about the lab-grown blood, one man licking his lips had this to say, "Not bad. " Dammit, Dracula!
The process involves using adult skin or blood cells that have been genetically modified into stem cells, known as induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.
These iPS cells are then cultured in biologic conditions that mimic the human body, eventually leading to their transition into mature red blood cells.
The trick so far has been increasing the efficiency of this transition process, as not all the cells are capable of becoming red blood cells.
The team at the University of Edinburgh has got this efficiency to approaching 50% in a process that takes about a month.
The red blood cells are then separated from the rest of the cells in a centrifuge.
I tried donating blood once and passed out. I never should have looked at the bag. You know what the last thing I remember saying was? 'That looks too full.' I thought they were trying to bleed me dry. When reached for another comment about the new lab-grown blood, The Count from Sesame Street counted to ten then ran off screen chasing bats.
Thanks to Thaylor H, who not only donates blood, but also keeps a jar full of scabs for emergencies. Cool!