UK Begin Trial of Lab Grown RBCs for Sickle Cell Patients

Healthcare

The UK has trial of lab grown red blood cells (RBCs) have been transfused into volunteers, and it could help revolutionise treatments for patients with sickle cell disease and thalassemia. The lab grown RBCs were manufactured from stem cells from donors that could allow donor blood to be expanded into much bigger volumes for transfusion in the future.

The clinical trial included a study of the lifespan of lab grown cells compared with infusions of standard red blood cells from the same donor. The challenging and exciting trial is a large stepping stone for manufacturing blood from stem cells, said Prof Ashley Toye, an investigator on the trial.

Prof. Ashley Toye added that this is the first time lab-grown blood from donor stem cells has been transfused, and they are excited to see how well the RBCs perform at the end of the clinical trial.

There are two potential advantages to using lab-grown blood. At first, the approach can address the donor shortage for patients with rare blood types who require regular transfusions, such as those with thalassemia and sickle cell disease. The lab-grown blood is expected to outperform standard donor blood, and RBCs have a lifespan of around 120 days, and a normal blood donation will contain new cells of varying ages.

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