June 22, 2016

A few units of stem cell created blood will be scaled up to hundreds of thousand of units by 2020 to solve blood bank shortage issues

Megakaryon of Japan has a joint research with Harvard University to develop blood outside of the body. Success would eliminate the blood bank shortages. They are producing blood platelets in vitro from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

Megakaryon CEO Miwa aims to start mass in vitro production of blood by 2020. At present, the company can only make a few units of blood every two weeks. In Japan alone, annual demand totals 800,000 units. Megakaryon is working with Japanese drugmakers and manufacturers of materials to create a mass-production system.

In vitro blood will be a boon to both wealthy countries and developing ones, Miwa said. It can reduce the risk of infection in places where a proper blood donation and screening system has yet to be established and the risky underground trade in blood is widespread.

SOURCE - Nikkei

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