Aug 19, 2008 | 3
Scientists have created red blood cells from human embryonic stem cells, in a step that they say could mean an infinite source of blood for transfusions.
According to the American Red Cross, 15 million units of blood are donated in the U.S. each year. Fourteen million units are transfused into Americans every year. The World Health Organization notes that people still die—especially in developing countries—because of an inadequate blood supply.
The team at Worcester, Mass.-based Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) says that if they can develop type-O negative blood—so-called "universal donor" blood because the body's immune system will not reject it—there could be an inexhaustible supply. They were able to grow type A, type B, and type O blood, but did not make type O negative. ACT's chief scientific officer Robert Lanza told Wired News that he doesn't think it will be a problem to make oodles of O negative.
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