According to a study published in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology, researchers have been successful in injecting cultured red blood cells (cRBCs) into a human donor. The cRBCs were created from human hematopoietic stem cells or HSCs. In a world where blood donors are decreasing while the need for blood is on the rise, the study brings hope that patients who need a blood transfusion will some day be able to be their own donors.
A research team based in Paris used HSCs from a single human donor to geerate billions of cRBCs in a laboratory with the help of specific factors that regulate the maturation and propagation of cRBCs into red blood cells.
In a bid to prove that the cRBCS could reach full maturity once injected, the researchers injected the cells into four mice, and the maturation process proved successful. A volunteer human donor was then injected with a set of cRBCs created with his own blood, and this test proved successful as well. Teh results showed that between 94 and 100 percent of the cRBCs survived after five days, and between 41 and 63 percent survived after twenty six days.
The study shows that cultured cells have a lifespan and survival rate similar to normal, natural red blood cells, which further supports the application of cRBCs as a source of blood tranfusion.
The news could not have come at a better time as the American Red Cross and similar blood donation organisations have reported a critical shortage of blood. The World Health Organisation has also declared that in more than 70 nations, only 1 percent of the population is involved in blood donation.