First viable, scalable artificial red blood cells

The New Scientist reported in issue 2670 that Advanced Cell Technology the troubled American biotechnology corporation, has finally succeeded in developing a viable, scalable process for the production of blood type O red blood cells from embryonic stem cell cultures.  This was preceded by a prepublished paper in the online edition of the science journal Blood by Shi-Jiang Lu, titled Biological properties and enucleation of red blood cells from human embryonic stem cells (see abstract).  The paper demonstrates that the cells have the properties required to function as replacement red blood cells in an adult human.

Meanwhile the premier science journal Nature reports that the US National Institute of General Medical Sciences, in Bethesda, Maryland has made three five-year grants, each totaling about $9m, to universities for embryonic stem cell research.  In June, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM)  approved grants totaling over $50 million to fund dedicated laboratory space for culturing human embryonic stem cells, Nature reports.

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