Artificial Blood Within a Decade

The holy grail of blood research, man-made blood, will soon be tested on humans. Within a decade, it could supply much of the world's need, saving countless lives around the globe. 

What's the Latest Development?

Biomedical researchers in England and Scotland have, for the first time, created thousands of millions of synthetic red blood cells using stem cells taken from bone marrow. While that count is still short of the amount necessary for a transfusion, scientists believe a teaspoon amount will be ready to inject into humans in a couple of years. Within a decade, they hope that artificial blood will be used routinely at accident sites and during surgeries. Ultimately, a stockpile of the O-negative blood type, known as the universal donor, should be created. 

What's the Big Idea?

Creating industrial quantities of artificial blood could potentially end donation shortages, saving untold lives at the scenes of car accidents, on battlefields and in surgeries. Laboratories could adjust supply to fit demand; during the summer, for example, rates of car accidents are higher. A dramatic increase in supply could greatly benefit third world countries as well, where sub-standard medical conditions result in preventable deaths such as hemorrhaging during child birth. 

Related Articles

Scientists reverse hair loss by making scalp "smell" sandalwood

It turns out the human scalp has an olfactory receptor that seems to play a crucial role in regulating hair follicle growth and death.

Photo: malehmann via Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Scientists treated scalp tissue with a chemical that mimics the odor of sandalwood.
  • This chemical bound to an olfactory receptor in the scalp and stimulated hair growth.
  • The treatment could soon be available to the public.
Keep reading Show less

7 habits of the best self-directed learners

The best self-directed learners use these seven habits to improve their knowledge and skills in any subject.

(Photo by Peter Cade/Getty Images)
Personal Growth
  • Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Ellen DeGeneres all dropped out of college, yet they became leaders in their fields. Their secret? Self-directed learning.
  • Self-directed learning can help people expand their knowledge, gain new skills, and improve upon their liberal education.
  • Following habits like Benjamin Franklin's five-hour rule, the 80/20 rule, and SMART goals can help self-directed learners succeed in their pursuits.
Keep reading Show less

Early Halloween in this Greek town: 1,000-foot spiderweb

It happens every few years. Not just in Greece, but also parts of the United States.

Photo credit: Giannis Giannakopoulos
Surprising Science
  • Aitoliko, in Western Greece is the town these images are from.
  • Tetragnatha is the genus — known as "stretch spiders" because of their elongated bodies.
  • They can run faster on water than on land. Don't panic, though: they will be gone in days.
Keep reading Show less