CNET is reporting that DARPA is sponsoring the development of a red blood generator that can be used in deployments and would no doubt be useful in the civilian world.
DARPA has awarded a $1.95 million contract to Arteriocyte, a Cleveland company that’s experimenting with a technology developed at Johns Hopkins that enables the rapid expansion of umbilical cord blood. The company wants to adapt it to a manufacturing technology that will feed the military’s thirst for universal donor red blood units. The technology, called Nanex, uses a nanofiber-based structure that mimics bone marrow in which blood cells multiply, according to the company.
The military envisions a “fieldable” in-theater, culture-manufacturing system that would take hematopoietic progenitor cells and automatically covert those into hundreds of prepackaged, ready-to-be-infused RBC units. This process, called “blood pharming,” would eliminate much of storage, transport and the donor blood type and health limitations that make RBC resupply such a challenge.