For obvious reasons the military has been doing research on artificial blood for many years. In fact my Ph.D. dissertation was based on a liposome encapsulated hemoglobin prototype which never got off the ground. Now, however, artificial blood may now become a thing of the past. A recent breakthrough in tissue engineering by a company called Arteriocyte has lead to a contract to create fresh blood on the battle field from DARPA for the U.S. Army. It is getting three years to create a unit that can produce 100 liters of blood per week for 8 weeks in a combat environment. This is great news for our servicemen.
Let’s make sure we keep our eye on the ball here and realize that it is going to take a lot of good old mechanical, electrical, software and biomedical engineering to get this product to work in the military and civilian environment. So although it’s technical success will depend on the advancement in tissue engineering and bioreactor technology there will still be a lot of traditional engineering required to make it a viable military and civilian product.
See the Popular Mechanics article Bringing Stem Cells to War: Meet the Blood Pharmers