Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Centre for Biological Engineering

Blood Pharming

CBE staff in laboratory

Blood Pharming was a collaborative program to develop novel technologies to enable in vitro production of red blood cells (erythrocytes) that are safe, effective, readily available, and have not been subjected to prolonged storage.

The ultimate goal of the program was the development of an automated, fieldable cell culture and packaging system capable of producing transfusable amounts of universal donor erythrocytes using human progenitor cells as starting material.

Erythrocytes produced by the progenitor-based system must be functionally equivalent to fresh donor cells especially with regard to oxygen-carrying capacity, immunologial characteristics and morphology. The automated cell culture system must be capable of maintaining a self-renewing progenitor population, supporting efficient erythrogenic differentiation and purifying the end-product ready for transfusion.

Technical areas addressed by the program included stem cell biology, erythrocyte physiology, cellular support matrices/scaffolds, high-density automated cell culture systems, cell sorting, purification and packaging. Research at Loughborough focussed on novel cell-culture technologies, process characterisation and optimization.

Funding body


Project dates / duration

Phase 1: August 2008 - July 2009

Phase 2: August 2009 - June 2012

Project team



Dr Rob Thomas: R.J.Thomas@lboro.ac.uk, 01509 227601

Staff portal (restricted) »

EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre Regenerative Medicine logo

State-of-the-art facility

The facility is made up of a suite of Class 2 laboratories for cell growth, a bioelectrical facility and an analytical suite to service all laboratories.

Find out more about the Centre's facilities »