Monday, September 5, 2016

Synthetic blood - coming soon to a blood bank near you

A pew poll released this week shows Americans aren’t sanguine about being given synthetic blood.

Scientists in the UK have been working on artificial blood grown in lab from stem cells.
The work is progressing on schedule, and human trials are set to begin in 2017.

Stem cells from both umbilical cords and adult donors are cultured in a solution for three weeks and coaxed to become red blood cells. Each stem cell can create 10,000 red blood cells. At present efficiencies, 40-50% of the stem cells can be turned into red blood cells, with the process taking around a month. [Read more about the process here.]

But the Pew Center’s survey found that Americans are more worried than excited or enthusiastic about the potential for healthy people to use synthetic blood (63% vs. 36%). And a majority of Americans – roughly six-in-ten – said they would not want synthetic blood substitutes.

One reason for the caution: The public is closely split on whether the idea of synthetic blood is meddling with nature, or whether it is no different than other ways that humans try to better themselves (49% vs. 48%).

Some 35% of Americans view the potential use of synthetic blood in healthy people as morally unacceptable, while about a fifth (22%) say it would be morally acceptable and 41% are not sure. People with moral reservations about using synthetic blood in this way often described this idea as “disrupting nature” or “playing God.” [Read more about the poll here.

Odd that most of these folks worried about science ‘playing God’ don’t seem to give a thought to what God might say about transfusing blood in the usual manner. [Read what God says about blood here.]


  1. I have mixed emotions on this as well as fractions. If we wouldn't donate why would we except a donation fraction? Not a show stopper by no means. Psalms 119:165

    1. If they're red blood cells, however "coaxed" into becoming so, I wouldn't feel comfortable about accepting this "synthetic" blood.

  2. My conscience is struggling with this one. Basically, a fraction, yet it is blood. But it is blood that does not belong to anyone. Oh, the conundrum.