Transfusion services are under increasing pressure to meet demand for blood with more than 90 million transfusions carried out globally each year.
A new source of red blood cells would help meet the growing demand for blood and might address some problems associated with current practice. For example it would eliminate the transmission of infectious agents - a significant problem in developing countries. It could allow for the production of cells of specific blood groups and it might reduce symptoms associated with iron overloading in patients who require repeated transfusions.
We are a multi-disciplinary team aiming to use pluripotent stem cells to create a supply of red blood cells equivalent to those found in the body. Our research teams are focused on scaling up and improving the efficiency of red blood cell production to develop a commercially viable product.
The Novosang project has received more than £12 million of funding to date.
Funding has come from organisations including The Wellcome Trust, The Scottish Funding Council, the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service and NHS Blood and Transplant.
This funding has enabled us to complete a proof of concept – demonstrating that red blood cells can be produced from pluripotent stem cells, meeting good manufacturing practice guidelines required for clinical use.