Scientists in Scotland have been granted a licence to manufacture blood that could eventually be tested on people.
Researchers from the Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine (SCRM) in Edinburgh will use stem cells to develop synthetic blood on an industrial scale, which will help tackle shortages and prevent infections being passed on through donors, the Press Association reported.
The licence from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency could lead to the world’s first trials on humans and the eventual regular use of synthetic blood.
Scientists will also be able to work on stem cell products used to help patients with Parkinson’s disease and cancer.
Researchers will use pluripotent stem cells from adult donors to manufacture the blood, instead of embryotic stem cells.
Project leader Marc Turner said; "In the first part of the project we used human embryonic stem cell lines and one of the problems with using those lines is you can’t choose what the blood group is going to be.
"Over the last few years there has been a lot of work on induced pluripotent stem cells and with those an adult can donate a small piece of skin or a blood sample and the technology allows for stem-cell lines to be derived from that sample.
Image: Developing synthetic blood could stop shortages and prevent infections passed on through donors. Photo: Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.