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About the research

The exhibit is based on a £2,9M Wellcome Trust and £2,5M Scottish Funding Council funded collaborative research project ‘Proof of principle: human embryonic stem cell derived red cell concentrates for clinical transfusion’.

In this project scientists are working together to generate a limitless and infection-free supply of red blood cells in the laboratory from human embryonic stem cells for use in clinical blood transfusion.

Blood Transfusion has become a mainstay of modern medical practice. However, problems persist both nationally and internationally in maintaining an adequate supply, managing the risk of transmission of infectious agents and ensuring immune compatibility between donor and recipient. Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have unique properties in that they can be maintained indefinitely in culture in an undifferentiated state and yet retain the ability to form all the cells and tissues within the body, including blood cells. They therefore offer a potentially limitless source from which to generate red blood cells for clinical transfusion.

Wellcome Trust press release

Scottish Funding Council Press Release

See also 4min video of the research project


This exhibit has been developed by:

logos SNBTS Medical Research Council University of Glasgow MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine The University of Edinburgh Irish Blood Transfusion Service


Research partners:

Research partners NHS blood and transplant Roslin Cells Roslin Cellab

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