Stem cells for blood transfusion?
Red blood cells - image courtesy of Annie Cavanagh, Wellcome Trust Image Bank
Researchers from several institutions across the UK and Ireland are working together to generate blood from stem cells to provide a limitless and infection-free blood supply.
Blood transfusions have been used in medical science for 100 years, but even though it is a common and successful medical procedure there are many difficulties surrounding it. Internationally there are problems maintaining an adequate supply, matching blood types and the transmission of infectious agents. Researchers are now studying the use of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) as an alternative to address all these issues.
“Human embryonic stem cells raise the possibility in the future of providing a limitless and infection-free supply of blood ending the shortages and medical issues with our current blood supply and potentially saving hundreds of thousands of lives each year,” says Professor Marc Turner, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh.
Visitors to the exhibit will be able to view their own blood cells flowing through blood vessels, see images of human embryonic stem cells, find out how red blood cells are made and discuss the prospects for stem cell derived medicines.
MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at University of Edinburgh; University of Glasgow; Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service; Irish Blood Transfusion Centre; NHS Blood and Transplant; Roslin Cells Ltd.