Artificial blood could soon run through your veins, as clinical trials are set for 2017

blood laser test
science photo/Shutterstock
The National Health Service in the UK has announced it’s confident the world’s first clinical trials of lab-produced red blood cells will begin in 2017, meaning that in the near future, artificial blood may be used in blood transfusions.

The development of a synthetic blood is being pushed forward due to falling donor numbers, and a need to maintain the amount of blood the NHS requires, at a reasonable price. The early trials will involve a small amount of the blood being introduced — less than 10ml — any adverse reactions monitored, and a comparison with normal blood made.

Produced from stem cells taken from donor blood or blood from umbilical cords, it’s hoped that if the trials are successful, an unlimited quantity of artificial blood can be produced for use in emergency transfusions.

It’s part of the NHS’s research and development program concentrating on blood and organ transplants, Dr. Nick Watkins said: “These trials will compare manufactured cells with donated blood. The intention is not to replace blood donation, but provide specialist treatment for specific patient groups.”

While the future may turn out differently, Dr. Watkins told the Independent that during the trials, the artificial blood won’t replace donated blood, but help patients with specific needs. For example, those with sickle-cell anemia, who require a normal blood transfusion. The development of an easily produced synthetic blood could also help people with rare blood types in need of an emergency transfusion. Artificial blood developed in a lab, and outside of the human body, has the advantage of being disease-free, with no risk of introducing blood viruses like HIV.

A New Scientist report notes that while synthetic blood should work, and has been in development all over the world for several years, the issue is with making it in large enough quantities. The NHS’s trials will come in 2017, and are part of a five-year program, with more than £12 million in funding.

Emerging Tech

Global Good wants to rid the world of deadly diseases with lasers and A.I.

Global Good, a collaboration between Intellectual Ventures and Bill Gates, aims to eradicate diseases that kill children in developing nations. It tackles difficult problems with high-tech prototypes.
Emerging Tech

No faking! Doctors can now objectively measure how much pain you’re in

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have discovered the blood biomarkers that can objectively reveal just how much pain a patient is in. Here's why that's so important.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (February 2019)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.

Apple loses battle to use Intel modems in Germany in latest clash with Qualcomm

Apple is following the Federal Trade Commission's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Emerging Tech

How can digital art created on obsolete platforms be preserved?

As the lines between art and technology continue to blur, digital art experiences become more commonplace. But these developments are raising an important question for art conservationists: How should digital artworks be preserved?
Emerging Tech

Statistician raises red flag about reliability of machine learning techniques

Machine learning is everywhere in science and technology. But how reliable are these techniques really? A statistician argues that questions of accuracy and reproducibility of machine learning have not been fully addressed.
Emerging Tech

Here’s how Facebook taught its Portal A.I. to think like a Hollywood filmmaker

When Facebook introduced its Portal screen-enhanced smart speakers, it wanted to find a way to make video chat as intimate as sitting down for a conversation with a friend. Here's how it did it.
Emerging Tech

Chandra X-ray telescope uncovers evidence of the universe’s missing matter

Where is all of the matter in the universe? NASA's Chandra telescope has uncovered evidence of hot gas strands in the vicinity of a quasar which could explain the missing third of matter which has puzzled astronomers for years.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? You totally can with these top-of-the-line drones

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s space observatory will map the sky with unprecedented detail

NASA is preparing to launch a cutting-edge space observatory to create the most detailed map ever produced of the sky. Doing so will involve surveying hundreds of millions of galaxies. Here's how it plans to do it.
Smart Home

No strings attached: This levitating lamp uses science to defy gravity

Now on Kickstarter, the Levia lamp is a cool industrial-looking lamp which boasts a levitating bulb. Looking for a table light that will dazzle visitors? You've come to the right place.
Emerging Tech

The Great White Shark’s genome has been decoded, and it could help us end cancer

In a significant step for marine and genetic science, researchers have decoded the genome of the great white shark. The genetic code revealed a wealth of insight into what makes these creatures so successful from an evolutionary standpoint.
Emerging Tech

‘Guerrilla rainstorm’ warning system aims to prevent soakings, or worse

Japanese researchers have created a "guerrilla rainstorm" early-warning system aimed at preventing severe soakings, or worse. The team hopes to launch the system before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Barbie’s Corvette ain’t got nothing on Sphero’s fully programmable robot car

Sphero is known for devices like the Sphero Bolt and BB-8 Star Wars toy, but now the company is back with another addition to its lineup -- the Sphero RVR. The RVR is a fully programmable robot car that can be expanding with different…