Lifewatch: Developing artificial blood

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

CLEVELAND, OH (WECT) - A small company in Cleveland, Ohio is making strides in the quest to develop artificial blood.

"We think we can grow fresh blood faster than what the human body would naturally grow fresh blood," said Arteriocyte CEO Donald Brown.

Arteriocyte is developing a machine that can make human blood purely and quickly, and have won a big military contract to perfect it.

The key in the production is artificial bone marrow in which the human red cells grow.  The idea is called blood farming.

"You want to be able to grow it faster, more efficiently, more effectively than what the human body would do," said Brown.

Ten machines could be linked together to produce up to 100 units of fresh blood a week.  The military estimates 20 lives a week could be saved.

The company and its 30 employees are also marketing a machine that produces platelet rich plasma at a patient's bedside.  It's being used in 400 hospitals.

25 companies from around the world competed for the right to develop this technology.  Only two were selected - one was a huge company with thousands of employees, the other was the company in Cleveland.