Scientists Invent Real Life True Blood
When HBO’s came out with its hit series, ‘True Blood,” semi-based on the popular vampire novels by Charlaine Harris, people began to speculate how long it would take before scientists would be able to duplicate the science on the show and in the books and manufacture a blood supply. Well, thanks to researchers at the University of Bristol in England, we finally have our answer!
These Researchers have created the first immortalized blood cell lines, which allow for mass production of red blood cells.
The research team collaborated with the NHS Blood and Transplant to create manufactured red blood cells on a large-scale, which could lead to safe transfusion sources for people with the rarest blood types and could compensate for blood donation shortages.
Previous studies involved growing stem cells that were donated, into mature red blood cells, but this method only produced a small number of mature cells and required repeated donations.
“Previous approaches to producing red blood cells have relied on various sources of stem cells which can only presently produce very limited quantities,” Dr. Jan Frayne, of the University of Bristol’s School of Biochemistry, said in a press release. “By taking an alternative approach we have generated the first human immortalized adult erythroid line [Bristol Erythroid Line Adult or BEL-A], and in doing so, have demonstrated a feasible way to sustainably manufacture red cells for clinical use from in vitro culture. Globally, there is a need for an alternative red cell product. Cultured red blood cells have advantages over donor blood, such as reduced risk of infectious disease transmission.”
The Immortalized cells are then created by trapping stem cells at their early stages to generate a stable line so they will grow indefinitely and will be triggered to become red blood cells.
The researchers say it could be many years before manufactured cells are available on a large scale, but the science is there to help millions of people around the world.
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