The UK'S NHS (National Health Service) Blood and Transplant announced the first human trial of artificial blood grown in lab from stem cells is set to take place by 2017.
The research team led by scientists at the University of Bristol and NHS Blood and Transplant used stem cells from adult and umbilical cord blood to create a small volume of manufactured red blood cells.
The researchers hope that if the human trial is successful, it will offer an alternative to specialist patients with blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia, thalassemia and for patients who require blood transfusion.
The clinical trial of artificial blood is designed to compare the survival of red blood cells manufactured from stem cells with that of the standard blood donor red blood cells.
A group of 20 volunteers will receive a small volume (five to ten milliliter) of lab-produced blood.
"These trials will compare manufactured cells with donated blood. The intention is not to replace blood donation but provide specialist treatment for specific patient groups," said Dr Nick Watkins, NHS Blood and Transplant Assistant Director of Research and Development.
"Scientists across the globe have been investigating for a number of years how to manufacture red blood cells to offer an alternative to donated blood to treat patients. We are confident that by 2017 our team will be ready to carry out the first early phase clinical trials in human volunteers," Watkins said.
"Research has laid the foundation for current transfusion and transplantation practices. Continued investment in research and development is critical to our role in saving and improving lives through blood and organ donation," he added.