My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service clones Type O Negative Blood for Cheaper Transfusions in 2016

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service clones Type O Negative Blood for Cheaper Transfusions in 2016

“Although similar research has been conducted elsewhere, this is the first time anybody has manufactured Blood to the appropriate quality and safety standards for transfusion into a human being,”

Professor Marc Turner, Lead Researcher in the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service developement of Laboratory grown Type O Negative (–) Blood for Transfusion

Researchers at the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service have made an incredible breakthrough by developing artificial Laboratory Grown Type O Negative (–) that can be transfused into any human being as stated in “First Artificial Red Blood Cells Made”, published 4/14/2014 @ 11:19AM by Paul Rodgers, Forbes.

The Project, funded to the tune of £5m ($8.5m) by the Wellcome Trust, achieve this remarkeable breakthrough via Stem Cell Cloning in the field of Regenerative Medicine that's developing replacement tissues for Transplant.

Artificial skin, liver, bone, cartilage, Blood vessels and even Vaginas are now possible as stated in the article “Artificial vagina, nasal cartilage grown in lab, implanted in patients: What next?”, published April 13, 8:46 AM By James Maynard, Tech Times and “This Week In Lab-Grown Organs: The Artificial Vagina”, published April 14th, 2014 By Lina Chappelle, NYU Local.

In the case of the Blood, it's the Type O, a rare type of Blood that's common in only 7% of humans as explained on the Nobel Prize’s Website article “Blood Groups, Blood Typing and Blood Transfusions”.

Yet carriers of this type of Blood can donate Blood to anyone for transfusions, hence the reason for artificially growing this type of Blood. Also, Rhesus Negative (–) can donate to anyone that’s Rhesus Positive (+), hence the reason why the artificially manufactured Blood is Type O Negative (–)!


Lack of the knowledge of the different types of Blood meant that the developement of Blood Transfusion, pioneered by 17th Century physician Jean-Baptiste Denys in France during the reign of Louis XIV’s, saw many persons dying mysteriously because they were transfused with the wrong Blood.

It wasn't until the discovery of Blood Types, that being A, B, AB and O by Karl Landsteiner and later the discovery of the Rhesus + and - Factor by Alexander S. Wiener before the deaths stopped and transfusions became mainstream.

Red Blood Cell Transfusion – Cloning Type O Negative Blood for Transfusion economy-of-scale

The process basically involves cloning Red Blood Cells under conditions that simulate those present in Bone Marrow. Stem cells are harvested from an adult donor’s skin or Blood. They are then chemically induced to become iPS (induced pluripotent stem), capable of growing into any of the body's 200 cells or skin tissue.

Then the fun part begins, with the iPS cells exposed to a chemical culture that simulate the conditions in the Bone Marrow, thus inducing them to grow into Red Blood Cells, a process that reminds me of the of the cloning of Dolly the sheep back in 1997 as stated in “1997: Dolly the sheep is cloned”, published 22 Feb 1997, BBC News and how far we’ve come full circle to the original purpose of cloning: Regeneration of Human Tissues for Transplants.

Like that famous cloning process back in 2007, some of the Cell do not grow into Red Blood cells. A Centrifuge is used to separate the Red Blood cells by mass from the other tissue that may grow from the iPS Cells. Then the Blood is cooled and stored. Thanks to the fact that it is grown, it has no diseases and thus can last longer than the 120 day life cycle typically of human harvested Blood.

This developement now means that Transfusions costs will soon go down. Currently in the US of A, a pint of Blood that matches the donor costs US$500; in Britain it's £120. Scaling up the process is apparently rocket science, as it requires more than just adding more ingredients according to Professor Marc Turner, Lead Researcher in the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, quote: “It’s one thing to bake a cake and another thing to bake a cake 100 times the size.
It’s not just a matter of putting in 100 times the ingredients”.

But the demand may mean that may not be immediately a concern, despite the staggering numbers needing transfusions Globally:

1.      100 million units are donated world-wide annually
2.      40,000 units are transfused daily in the US of A

The main concern is safety. There are test trials planned with three (3) patients that have a haemoglobin deficiency genetic disorder known as thalassaemia in 2016. If those trials are successful and the patients can accept daily transfusions of this artificially grown Type O Negative (–) Blood, then I won’t be such a rare person anymore. Not to mention saving thousands of lives around the world with my rare Blood type.

…for you see, dear reader, I’m a carrier of Type O Negative (–) Blood…. And I’m scared of Needles!
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