The problem with blood is that we never have enough. Research has been ongoing into creating a synthetic blood replacement but, try as we might, it’s not the easiest thing to produce. A team in Scotland from Edinburgh University decided to work with, rather than against, nature, and have come up with a way to create artificial blood from human bone marrow.
The creation process involves taking stem cells from healthy bone marrow and nurturing them in a lab. The resulting liquid is not quite as good as the real deal, but of a sufficient quality to be used temporarily. It can also be tailor-made into a specific type, with the universal donor O-negative being at the front of the line.
Hopefully we’ll hear more details in the coming months of how exactly it works, and if the process can be used for mass production purposes — a crucial point if the technology is to ever see wide adoption.
The team will embark on human trials in two to three years. Until then, we’ll continue to make do with donations and saline.