Arteriocyte’s Blood Pharming program is currently working to combine multiple state of the art technologies to produce fresh units of universal-donor (Type O, RH factor negative) packed red blood cells. The company’s proprietary NANEX (Nanofiber Based System) technology permits 250-fold expansion of hematopoietic stem cells that are subsequently cultured in a unique environment of nutrients and growth factor to induce differentiation into enucleated red blood cells. The resulting cell product is functionally indistinguishable from red blood cells in healthy circulation.
DARPA funded Arteriocyte with $1.95 million for the Bloodpharming project. Arteriocyte has sent off an initial shipment of their pharmed blood product to the Food and Drug Administration.
A single unit of pharmed blood currently runs them $5,000. Darpa’s betting that a unit of pharmed blood will make financial sense once it costs less than $1,000.
Human trials aren’t likely until 2013, but the Pentagon could invoke “emergency protocol” to snag the blood sooner — Brown predicts military use within five years.