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Scottish scientists developing synthetic human blood have moved a step closer to conducting clinical trials. Researchers from The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, Edinburgh University and Roslin Cells, who are conducting the work, have been given a licence to use stem cells to manufacture blood that could eventually be tested on people.

The licence, granted by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), means a manufacturing facility can be set up at the Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine (SCRM) aiming to produce synthetic blood which would be fit for clinical trials. This being said, clinical trails would require a further licence from the MHRA as well as other regulatory agencies.

“The completion of this state-of-the-art facility will further advance our understanding of the debilitating diseases this field seeks to address and their potential therapies.” says Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil. If successful, any future human trials would be the first stage in establishing larger-scale clinical trials, which could lead to the regular use of synthetic blood. The ultimate objectives behind the development and production of synthetic blood would be to help end supply shortages and prevent infections being passed on through donations.

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