Red blood cells grown from stem cells are set to be trialled in human patients within the next three years.
If the study is successful it could mean the mass production of human blood cells.
Marc Turner, researcher at the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service and leader of the multi-million dollar project, said it was the first time anybody had manufactured blood cells fit for human transfusion.
“Although similar research has been conducted elsewhere, this is the first time anybody has manufactured blood to the appropriate quality and safety standards for transfusion into a human being,” he told The Telegraph.
“Producing a cellular therapy which is of the scale, quality and safety required for human clinical trials is a very significant challenge,” he said in a press release.
“If we can achieve success with this first-in-man clinical study it will be an important step forward to enable populations all over the world to benefit from blood transfusions.”
It’s believed the trial will involve the treatment of patients with Thalassaemia, a blood disorder that is treated with regular blood transfusions.
While there is hope the trials will lead to the mass production of disease free, universal blood cells, researchers say people should still continue to donate blood.
The Australian Red Cross Blood Service estimates one in three people will need a blood transfusion but currently only one in 30 Australians give blood.
The cost of a unit of whole red blood cells in Australia is around $345.
The team, which is funded by the Wellcome Trust, has been working on this program for four years.