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[Perspectives] The Lancet Technology: pharming blood

In 2008, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), whose previous projects have yielded technologies such as the internet, stealth technology, and miniaturised GPS, launched its Blood Pharming programme and called for scientists and clinicians to create a system to manufacture red blood cells for transfusion. “Red blood cells are the most transfused blood product in battlefield trauma care and in civilian clinical settings. The high demand for blood transfusions poses a real challenge”, explains Renee Wegrzyn, DARPA Program Manager.