Artificial blood could soon be on the way

by Bob Yirka report
blood
Bags of blood collected during donation. Image: Wikipedia.

(Medical Xpress) -- Researchers at Edinburgh University in Scotland have announced that they believe the type of artificial blood they are working on could be ready for testing in humans in as little as two or three years. Made from growing stem cells taken from adult human bone marrow, the blood they create would be of the rare type “O-negative” that some 98% of people in need could use.

Researchers have for years been experimenting with different processes and materials to recreate what natures provides every individual free of charge; a liquid material capable of carrying oxygen and other nutrients through veins and arteries during times of loss, generally due to injury or surgery. The reason the need is so great is because of the great demand. People are injured every day, and develop problems that require surgery to fix, and sometimes the supply of blood from donors isn’t enough to keep up with demand, especially in less developed countries. Plus, there is the always constant threat of infections transferred via blood transfusions, such as HIV, Hepatitis and vCJD, also known as mad cow disease when it infects people.

The team in Edinburgh, led by Professor Marc Turner, has been working on a technique whereby stem cells are taken from the bone marrow of healthy adults and are then grown in a lab into a material that very closely resembles red blood cells grown normally in the human body. They think their process has been sufficiently refined to predict that their results will be ready for clinical trials in as little as two or three years. The next step would be combing their results with the results of others around the world who are working on ways create a form of artificial hemoglobin. If all goes according to plan, the use of such could become a routine part of emergency medical practices in about ten years time.

The problem with the artificial blood, however, is even if all works out as planned it still wouldn’t be the perfect replacement everyone really wants. Artificial blood, while clearly a lifesaver in medical emergencies would not likely ever be a permanent replacement for blood; it would still be just a stop-gap type measure. This is why research will continue to focus on a true artificial blood that could in theory completely replace all the blood a person needs and function just as their natural blood does, without any advertise side effects or complications.

That is not to say that a stop-gap temporary blood replacement wouldn’t be important. If this new type of artificial blood pans out, millions of lives would be saved the world over. And that certainly, is no small thing.

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Yellowdart
5 / 5 (1) Oct 28, 2011
Vampires rejoice!!
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Oct 28, 2011
the blood they create would be of the rare type O-negative that some 98% of people in need could use

What are the 2% that can't use O-negative? I thought that blood type worked for everyone.
BloodSpill
1 / 5 (1) Oct 28, 2011

What are the 2% that can't use O-negative? I thought that blood type worked for everyone.


A
B

They are not the only antigens, so I've read.
Twin
1 / 5 (2) Oct 28, 2011
Many people will reject a transfusion that contain "any" biological component. That product is probably far from soon.
MrKrynge
1 / 5 (4) Oct 29, 2011
Blood is more than just a carrier of oxygen and nutriants. It also has the blueprint of whom we are, hence why you only need to have a small drop of blood in order to confirm dna from crime scenes. Should any blood from someone else get into your blood stream, even if the TYPE is the same, there is a high chance your body will look to it as an infection and now your body, already injured, now has to fight an infection inside itself. There are Iron injections to help your body boost its red blood cell production and many other cheaper solutions to help your body repair itself already. Why waste reasearch and technology on producing artificial blood when there are many other proven and cheaper technologies out there?
captainkolak
not rated yet Oct 29, 2011
@MrKrynge
You say that the injured body now has to fight an infection (thus depleting resources), but if we essentially "force" the body to make more blood through iron injections for example we are still putting an additional strain on the body and still removing resources that could be used to fix the original injury. Hence the idea of giving someone blood is to allow the repair of the original injury to be the top priority (and not for example making lots of blood).
MrKrynge
1 / 5 (2) Oct 29, 2011
@captainkolak

Not true. When given the iron shots it is giving your body additional resources to help repair itself. Giving someone blood is not like giving a car extra oil cause it is low from another car. Each persons blood is unique to that person, not just type A, AB, etc. If it is volume that is needed, a saline (sp) IV is highly effective in giving the person volume, and allowing the blood (oxygen and nutrient dispersal) to work at peak proficiency. Thus allowing the body to perform its healing, without the additional problem of dealing with an additional infection (someone elses blood) that it now has to dispose of. With a little research you can find that people who do not have blood transfusions but rather use the many alternative options available, have a higher recovery rate, and guess what... no chance of HIV, Hepatitis, and other infections that they do not screen for.
gwrede
not rated yet Oct 30, 2011
Religion and superstition aside, please. And metaphysics, too.

More resources should be given to this kind of research. Today, millions of people die from accidents and medical emergencies, who could be saved by simply having blood to give them.

The day we can manufacture blood in bulk and distribute it globally, one big grief is taken care of. Whether this blood is genetically produced or entirely artificial is not the point.

Today we essentially milk each other like cows, just to get a liquid to be administered at hospitals. This is so archaic it's embarrassing.
MrKrynge
1 / 5 (2) Oct 30, 2011
@gwrede

Ummm I am a little confused. Where was Religion or Superstition mentioned?

I am trying to get the opinion across that we have affordable solutions available without having to manufacture blood. If blood does become manufactured than they are going to charge a whole lot more to hospitals than what it costs currently for Non-Blood Methods. If a company is able to "Make" blood, what is to stop them from cornering the market and making it super expensive due to "high costs of manufacturing, but 50% safer than Non Manufactured blood". Corporations are already charging for water that falls from the sky by putting it into bottles and selling it, what is to stop them from charging for the blood that pumps through our veins, given the option? Charging a higher price for something when there are already excellent solutions available that are.... dare I say... cheap... That is archaic.
Ethelred
5 / 5 (1) Oct 31, 2011
Charging a higher price for something when there are already excellent solutions available that are.... dare I say... cheap..
I dare say many things. That doesn't make them true. Hyperbaric chambers are NOT cheap nor are they easy to transport. Saline solutions do NOT transport oxygen. Self transfusions are worthless for emergencies. Iron injections do NOT transport oxygen. They MAY for SOME people help in the growth of new blood cells but that takes time and emergency patients would usually die if all they got was iron and salt solution injections.

I didn't see anything in your posts that can have more than a very minor effect on the need for some kind blood or hemoglobin substitute. That rather obvious lack of real alternatives in you posts that made them look like something that would come from someone with a religious agenda. It is difficult to see why you thought those posts had any real meaning regarding the need for some sort of oxygen transport.

Ethelred
MrKrynge
1 / 5 (1) Oct 31, 2011
That rather obvious lack of real alternatives in you posts that made them look like something that would come from someone with a religious agenda.


Yes I am religious, but no that is not my agenda, or I would have started quoting scripture. Unless you have the same belief as I do, it would be pointless to do so, hence I left religion as a whole out of my arguements.

A human at rest, or healing in a hospital bed, uses about 25% of the oxygen in their blood. The main problem with people who suffer blood loss is Volume. Hence the Volume expander Saline was mentioned. If there is not enough volume, oxygen transport is useless because your heart stops pumping. Plus if you are still loosing blood during surgury and are given a volume expander, you are loosing a lower percentage of blood due to the expander in your system as well. Normal Hemoglobin levels are between 12-18g/dL and some people have survived with as low as 2g/dL.

I have done my research, have you?
Ethelred
5 / 5 (1) Oct 31, 2011
Yes I am religious, but no that is not my agenda, or I would have started quoting scripture.
Stealth behavior is fairly popular these days.

I have done my research, have you?
Yes. And if you were completely correct there wouldn't be any transfusions. But there are. So you are missing something. Like the amount of blood loss in accidents and a lot of surgery. You are also missing is platelets and other clotting factors.

And you aren't posting scripture here because you know better, for which I congratulate you, as it is quite amazing how often some people quote scripture here as if was perfect and without flaw. It would be ignored as it is just the writing of men. In your case the translation was done by people that didn't even understand Hebrew.

This not quite real blood might be good enough to fit your religious needs. I am not sure but then the Watchtower's position on transfusion is really weird even for a religious based concept. It is NOT drinking blood.

Ethelred
MrKrynge
1 / 5 (2) Nov 01, 2011
Again you people are hilarious. I leave religion out of my comments and you people keep throwing it back in. I bring up points of Medical fact and you say I am a religious extremist trying to trick people. You bring up the bible when I haven't even mentioned it, other than to confirm I haven't bothered to quote it.

Who has the hidden adjends?

To answer your question, you are treating a blood transfusion as if it is a miracle cure to heal all problems. Our bodies are amazing in their abilities to heal itself, given the chance. With the volume expanders mentioned before, that helps with the blood loss during surgery and injuries, again under the supervision of a doctor.

But I see you just want to attack the facts under the guise of me being religious. So this will be my last post. And remember, you brought religion into this discussion not me.
Ethelred
5 / 5 (1) Nov 01, 2011
I leave religion out of my comments and you people keep throwing it back in.
It is the basis of your going this way at all.

I bring up points of Medical fact
Which doesn't change the fact that transfusions save lives.

and you say I am a religious extremist trying to trick people.
Did no such thing.

You bring up the bible when I haven't even mentioned it
It formed your thinking on this. Quite clearly. The medical evidence of transfusions saving live is incontrovertible.

Who has the hidden adjends?
You. Only it isn't well hidden.

you are treating a blood transfusion as if it is a miracle cure to heal all problems.
The hell I am. I am pointing out that it works. There are no miracles.

With the volume expanders mentioned before, that helps with the blood loss during surgery and injuries, again under the supervision of a doctor.
Still doesn't do away with the need for transfusions. Sure it can cut down on the use a bit.>>
Ethelred
5 / 5 (1) Nov 01, 2011
But I see you just want to attack the facts under the guise of me being religious.
I did NOT attack the actual facts that you posted. I am pointing the limits of those facts and the reason you are unwilling to take an honest look at the limits.

And remember, you brought religion into this discussion not me.
Horseshit. I just brought your motivation into the open, that this is the only thing you have posted on is also indicative of a religious or political posting. People that here for the science or the discussion have broader range of interests. Now it is time YOU looked at the limits of what can be done without transfusions and see just how many deaths would occur if they weren't used.

So this will be my last post.
No guts no glory. And confirmation of your motivations. You have no interest in the science.

Ethelred