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Human stem cells It may create 'artificial blood'

Scientists are using stem cells to make artificial blood, which could be tested in Britain within two years. The scientists who carried out the research believe it could change the way blood transfusions are carried out, save thousands of lives in battlefields and car accidents, and prevent hospitals from running out of blood. Heart transplants, bypass surgery and cancer patients also benefit, ensuring they have an adequate blood supply during surgery.

It prevents infections and provides blood for almost everyone with different blood types. Researchers at the universities of Edinburgh and Bristol have provided hope for many by growing billions of red blood cells from stem cells extracted from bone marrow for the first time. But normal blood transfusions typically contain 2.5 trillion red blood cells, so they don't grow enough to do that. Materials extracted from human embryos in the first few days of life are more likely to divide into large Numbers of cells, but researchers have yet to develop real blood.

If scientists eventually find a way to make real blood, it could theoretically take just one embryo to provide all the cells Britain needs for its blood supply. Professor marc-tern, of the university of Edinburgh, hopes to create a cell supply of O negative blood. This "universal donor" could provide blood for up to 98 percent of the population. He plans to inject a teaspoon of artificial blood into healthy volunteers within two to three years, the first test of blood made from stem cells in the UK.
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