What's the Latest Development?

A French doctor has completed the first-ever artificial blood transfusion after extracting stem cells from a patient's bone marrow, which were then used to grow the red blood cells under laboratory settings. "After five days, 94 to 100 percent of the blood cells remained circulating in the body. After 26 days, 41 to 63 percent remained, which is a normal survival rate for naturally produced blood cells." The cells carried oxygen throughout the patient's body, just as normal red blood cells would.

What's the Big Idea?

The successful transfusion is a hugely important step in finding a solution to blood shortages, used everywhere from accident scenes to surgeries to battlefields. "The results show promise that an unlimited blood reserve is within reach," says Luc Douay, of Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris. Mass produced artificial blood, however, remains a distant prospect as only a small amount of blood was transfused in the experiment. To complete a real-life transfusion, 200 times the amount of blood used by Douay would be necessary.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com