Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Synthetic blood from stem cells?

British researchers recently announced a project to create O-negative blood synthetically using embryonic stem cell technology. If successful, the synthetic "universal donor" blood will be a more reliably available and more reliably disease-free alternative to fresh blood or banked blood.

An article last month in the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reminds readers that last year [December 2008], U.S. researchers produced billions of functioning RBCs from embryonic stem cells--but claims that further research was delayed by government policies regarding stem cell research.

This may be an interesting fact to use use in classroom discussions of
  • blood development from stem cells
  • blood typing and its applications
  • blood banking and distribution, blood transfusions/infusions
  • history of blood and plasma use in emergency medical treatment
  • disappointing history of the quest for synthetic human blood
  • science controversies in general, stem cell issues in particular
  • case studies comparing pros/cons of proposed synthetic blood to
[Be sure to read the A&P Connect article Blood Transfusions . . . available online only to Patton/Thibodeau A&P/7ed readers.]

Click here for my most recent comments on the stem cell research controversy in the classroom.

Want to know more? Here are some resources:
British Scientists 'to create synthetic blood from embryonic stem cells'
Murray Wardrop
The Daily Telegraph 23 Mar 2009
[Brief article summarizing the British research plan and its significance]

Toward the manufacture of red blood cells?
Eric E. Bouhassira
Blood 1 December 2008, Vol. 112, No. 12, pp.4362-4363
[Brief comment on the U.S. blood research effort; includes simple photos]

Biologic properties and enucleation of red blood cells from human embryonic stem cells
Shi-Jiang Lu et al.
Blood 1 December 2008, Vol. 112, No. 12, pp.4362-4363
[Original journal report U.S. blood research effort; includes additional photos; links to FREE full text or PDF]
Click here or on the image above to link to a FREE blood transfusion photo that you can use in your course.

Here's a brief video that explains the perceived need for an transfusion alternatives:

No comments:

Post a Comment