Synthetic Blood Is On The Horizon
The Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine or SCRM in Edinburgh has been granted a license to make synthetic blood from stem cells.
The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has given SCRM a license that will allow their scientists to attempt to manufacture blood on a large scale. That’s right, manufacture, as in scientists will be creating blood from stem cells rather than simply relying on transfusions.
The synthetic blood will be made from adult donor’s stem cells, which are referred to as induced pluripotent stem cells. These cells can be made from an adult’s stomach, liver, skin and blood cells. As of right now, SCRM will not be using embryonic ones.
This license will also allow SCRM scientists to create other stem-cell products to help treat patients who have suffered a stroke and those with Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and cancer. Other researchers have been given licenses to pursue stem-cell product development, but SCRM is the first to have been given one for synthetic blood creation and trials.
Their main reasons behind doing so is to help overcome shortages and stop the passing of infections from donations. It might sound straight out of a science fiction novel, but SCRM is aiming to produce synthetic blood which would be fit for human use.
If SCRM is successful, large-scale clinical trials will be their next step. This means that they will be actively testing synthetic blood on humans. However, clinical trails would require a further license from the MHRA and other regulatory agencies.
In the coming years, if SCRM’s trials are successful in proving that the blood will be beneficial and non-harmful, synthetic blood may be in our hospitals. No longer will we have to worry about donation shortages or the transfer of infections.
What do you think: is synthetic blood our future? Or is it a bad idea? Let us know in the comments below.