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Significant Invention in the Fabrication of red blood cells

Apr 11, 2017

Significant Invention in the Fabrication of red blood cells

Medical research scientists have for the very first time developed immortalized cell line that enable manufacture of red blood cells more efficiently. The squad from NHS Blood and Transplant and the University of Bristol, were successful in manufacturing red blood cells with much efficiency than previously possible.

The outcomes of the research, if tested and succeeds in clinical trials, can ultimately result in a safe transfusions for individuals suffering from rare blood types, and also in regions of the world where there is insufficient or unsafe supply of blood.

Earlier, the investigation in this field aimed sole on arising donated stem cells directly into mature red blood cells. Nevertheless, that procedure currently develops little numbers of mature cells and needs repeated donations.

The world’s top most team in Bristol have now generated a strong and consistent method which enables the manufacturing of immortalized erythroid cell lines right from adult stem cells. Prior to being characterized into mature red blood cells, these premature red cells can be indefinitely cultured and thereby enabling larger production.

From the University of Bristol’s School of Biochemistry, Dr. Jan Frayne says, “Previous approaches to producing red blood cells have relied on various sources of stem cells which can only presently produce very limited quantities. By taking an alternative approach we have generated the first human immortalised adult erythroid line (Bristol Erythroid Line Adult or BEL-A), and in doing so, have demonstrated a feasible way to sustainably manufacture red cells for clinical use from in vitro culture.

“Globally, there is a need for an alternative red cell product. Cultured red blood cells have advantages over donor blood, such as reduced risk of infectious disease transmission.”

Professor Dave Anstee, who is the Director at the NIHR Blood and Transplant Research Unit in Red Cell Products, which is an association between NHS Blood and University of Bristol and Transplant, said, “Scientists have been working for years on how to manufacture red blood cells to offer an alternative to donated blood to treat patients.

“The first therapeutic use of a cultured red cell product is likely to be for patients with rare blood groups because suitable conventional red blood cell donations can be difficult to source.

“The patients who stand to potentially benefit most are those with complex and life-limiting conditions like sickle cell disease and thalassemia, which can require multiple transfusions of well-matched blood. The intention is not to replace blood donation but provide specialist treatment for specific patient groups.”

The blood cells were cultured at NHS Blood and Transplant’s Filton site and at the University of Bristol.At least 1.5 million units of blood have to be collected every year by blood and transplant to cope with the requirements of patients throughout England and enduring demand for what remains is the lifesaving blood donations.However, it will be several years before the manufactured cells can be accessible on a bigger scale.

In 2015, NHS Blood and Transplant declared strategies for in-man trials of fabricated blood. This initial trial will not make use of Bel-A cells. The primary trial, owing to begin by 2017 end, will use these red blood cells that are manufactured from stem cells in a regular blood donation.

This research was financed by The Wellcome Trust,National Institute for Health Research Blood, The Department of Health,BrisSynBio via a BBSRC/EPSRC Synthetic Biology Research Centre Grant,NHS Blood and Transplant, and Transplant Unit (NIHR BTRU)in Red Blood Cell Products at the University of Bristol in association with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).

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