E’ stato trovato il modo per creare, da cellule staminali, il sangue. Si potra’ cosi’ disporre di quantita’ industriali di globuli rossi, senza dover dipendere dalle donazioni. E cosi’ anche quell’elemento anche mitico, che e’ stato significato di stirpe e di discendenze che si tramandavano, simbolo di appartenenze ben precise, sta svanendo nei meandri della scienza moderna…
Scientists have grown huge quantities of red blood cells for the first time – a breakthrough that could make blood donations a thing of the past.
The researchers harnessed stem cell technology to create cells from blood types A, B and O. They found the lab-grown cells were as good as natural ones at carrying oxygen – raising the possibility of creating artificial blood for use in transplants.
Robert Lanza, one of the world’s leading stem cell scientists, said: ‘You wouldn’t have to worry about shortages because you could create as many as you want.’
Red blood cells are now used more often than blood in transfusions, added Professor Lanza, of U.S. company Advanced Cell Technology, so the breakthrough has the potential to save countless lives.
Hospitals could also stockpile bags of artificial blood as a safeguard for when their own stocks run low, she said.
The blood, which could be tested on humans for the first time next year, could prove invaluable on the battlefield, at the scene of road accidents and in other situations when the natural version is not readily available.
The advance also raises the prospect of mass-producing supplies of the ‘ universal donor’ blood type O-negative, which can be safely transfused into any patient, whatever their blood group.
It is in short supply – only eight per cent of Caucasians have it and just 0.3 per cent of Asians.
Synthetic blood could also be safer, because it should be free of hepatitis, HIV, and other deadly diseases, New Scientist magazine reports.
The National Blood Service welcomed the advance, but urged donors not to stop giving blood. Spokesman Gareth Bell said: ‘There is a continuous need for donors to come forward because we need to make sure blood is there for patients when they need it.’
Mohandas Narla, a U.S. expert in blood cell biology, called the results ‘a very good start’. But he pointed out that the research has yet to make sure the cells will survive long enough in the human body to be useful.
Natural red cells circulate for around 120 days.