Lab-grown red blood cells transfused into humans in first-of-its-kind study
Laboratory-grown red blood cells have the potential to revolutionise certain treatments when it comes to patients suffering from sickle cell disease and thalassemia. The successful manufacture of the new kind of blood was hailed as a major step forward for medical science and scientists have taken the innovation further by carrying out the first clinical trial. The blood cells were transfused into volunteers in a study and it will potentially help scientists to understand their life spans and compatibility factors.
Ashley Toye, director of the NIHR Blood and Transplant Unit in red cell products, told reporters that the blood cells were developed from stem cells taken from donors and if the studies are successful, they can start the transfusion process with patients who require huge amounts of blood for their treatments.
"This challenging and exciting trial is a huge stepping stone for manufacturing blood from stem cells.”
"This is the first-time lab-grown blood from an allogeneic donor has been transfused and we are excited to see how well the cells perform at the end of the clinical trial," Toye was quoted by The Guardian.
According to the statement released by the scientists, the amount of blood used in these trials is between 5 and 10 milliliters and it was ensured that the donors did not have any diseases.
"If our trial, the first such in the world, is successful, it will mean that patients who currently require regular long-term blood transfusions will need fewer transfusions in future, helping transform their care," Cedric Ghevaert, professor in transfusion medicine and consultant hematologist at the University of Cambridge and NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), said.