Lab-Grown Red Blood Cells May Soon Be Available For Safe Transfusions

Efforts to develop lab-grown blood cells for blood transfusions may soon materialize. Since 2021, the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom has been working on RESTORE— a project dedicated to growing red blood cells from stem cells. The RESTORE project aims to develop an alternative blood transfusion treatment that is more effective than using donor blood and that minimizes the number of transfusions that patients with blood diseases must receive in their lifetime.

Now, RESTORE’s lab-grown red blood cells are the first in the world to have entered clinical trials for blood transfusions, marking a significant milestone for the NHS.

Since the pandemic, the national blood supply level has significantly decreased according to America’s Blood Centers Organization. More than half of the United States’ community blood centers have a shortage of blood donations. This shortage has affected blood centers in the nation so much that many centers have blood supplies that will only last them a couple of days at a time, if not less.

This is an especially dire situation considering that in an average year, 4.5 million Americans require blood transfusions. In addition, a subset of the population suffers from blood diseases that require them to receive multiple blood transfusions within a year. Particularly, those who suffer from blood diseases like thalassemia or sickle cell disease.


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© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.