It’s kind of an amazing time to be alive. It seems like there are huge breakthroughs in medical science on a weekly basis. Science is doing incredible things that would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago. We’re using 3D printers to manufacture bones and body parts, and successfully transplanting them. We’re rapidly approaching a day when the HIV virus will be completely eradicated. And hey, pretty soon, I might not have to be bald anymore. You know what else is pretty cool? British scientists have figured out how to produce human blood without those horrible bags they’re usually made in. What are those bags called, anyway? Oh yeah, people.
University of Edinburgh researcher Marc Turner announced the breakthrough. Cells are taken from people, rewound into stem cells, which they biochemically manipulate to mature into Type O red blood cells. If that explanation wasn’t clear enough for you, a wizard did it. In an interview with The Telegraph, Turner said, “Although similar research has been conducted elsewhere, this is the first time anybody has manufactured blood to the appropriate quality and safety standards for transfusion into a human being.”
Some of that “similar research” was conducted by Turner in 2011, using bone marrow stem cells. Last year, artificial blood was produced in… wait for it… Transylvania (I swear that’s not a joke). The blood worked in mice, but scientists haven’t been able to make any compatible with humans yet.
Turner, on the other hand, plans to complete human trials within three years. The idea is to use the blood in three patients with Thalassaemia, a blood disorder that requires frequent transfusions. The patients will be closely monitored to test how the artificial blood behaves in a human host. If the tests are successful, mass production of manufactured blood could begin shortly afterward. In time, a pint of artificial blood will cost less than the tests performed on a pint of donated blood.
This could revolutionize the horror film industry.
And life, I guess.