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Lab-grown blood given to people in world-first trial

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A groundbreaking clinical trial has seen patients given blood manufactured in a lab. According to a team of UK researchers, a few spoonfuls of the artificial blood are being tested in tiny amounts to observe how it reacts in the body.

The new blood is made from a normal donation, from which stem cells are extracted, multiplied, and then guided to become red blood cells. The process, which takes around three weeks, sees an initial pool of around half a million stem cells resulting in 50 billion red blood cells. Certainly more than an armful.

While blood donations are still set to be the primary method of getting a good supply, scientists are hoping to be able to produce ultra-rare blood groups that are hard to get hold of, with some very specific blood groups having as few as 10 potential donors. Plus it will save on having to give out tea and biscuits after every donation.

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