Every minute in the United States, 30 people require a blood transfusion. That equates to a lot of blood, and the problem is that not enough people donate. This bottleneck has long been an issue for medicine, and so many have been trying to find a way to artificially create large volumes to meet this demand.
A team of researchers from the University of Bristol and NHS Blood and Transplant may have finally cracked it. They’ve made a major breakthrough in the process of mass producing red blood cells, in what could technically be an unlimited supply of the stuff. While they now have a biological way of achieving this, they now need the manufacturing technology on a large enough scale in order to mass produce it.
Scientists have been able to create artificial blood before, but these earlier methods have been incredibly inefficient. They worked by taking stem cells, and then directly inducing them to form red blood cells. By doing this, they could create maybe 50,000 cells in one go, far short of the trillions typically needed for a blood transfusion.