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article imageLaboratory-made blood to begin trials

By Tim Sandle     Jun 29, 2015 in Science
Cambridge - The U.K. National Health Service (NHS) aims to test blood made in a laboratory within the next two years. This could signal a move away from blood donations.
The new innovation involves using blood made from stem cells in bulk. In future trials, 20 people will be given the laboratory produced blood to see how they fare. The most immediate application, should the trials be successful, will be to help treat diseases such as sickle cell anemia.
The trials will be conducted at the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford. Here healthy people will be given small quantities of the blood. They will then be monitored to see what physiological and biochemical reactions occur.
Speaking with BBC News, Dr Nick Watkins, from NHS Blood and Transplant, explained that: "Scientists across the globe have been investigating for a number of years how to manufacture red blood cells to offer an alternative to donated blood to treat patients."
The NHS has indicated such experiments are not intended to replaced blood donation. Nonetheless, the research ties in with a general decline, in the U.K. and around the world, with the number of people prepared to donate blood. Some countries, like Sweden, have trialed different ways to keep the loyalty of blood donors, such as text messages and telling donors where their blood has been used.
In related news, scientists have created a series of "mini organs," the size of computer chips. The latest development involves making microscopic blood clots, to allow for stroke research.
More about Blood, Stem cells, laboratory blood, lab manufactured
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