Lab grown blood: growing more from a gift of blood donation – with prof Ash Toye

Thursday 12th October 2023 2:00PM – 2:00PM
Location/Venue: Parish Church Sidmouth EX10 8LG

The generation of fresh red blood cells (RBCs) grown from donated human blood stem cells isolated from donor blood, is one potential way to produce more blood for patients with rare blood types.

To produce cells from stem cells, the cells need to be grown in a rich nutrient media with various growth factors that tell the stem cells become red blood cells. The whole process takes about 19-21 days to go from a stem cell to a freshly made red blood cell that lacks its nucleus. The use of such cells has the promise of better care for those patients who require regular transfusions throughout life (e.g. thalassemia, sickle cell disease and certain cancers).

The REcovery and survival of STem cell Originated REd cells (RESTORE) clinical trial is Phase 1 trial powered to conduct the first ever clinical assessment of a mini dose transfusion of allogeneic (from another donor) lab grown RBCs generated from adult stem cells in healthy human volunteers.

Prof Ash Toye will talk about how red blood cells can be grown in the lab, how the RESTORE trial team set up the trial and some of the challenges they faced over the last 10 years, and will end on what the future might hold in terms of growing enough blood for a full donation.