About

NIHR Blood and Transplant Research Units (BTRU) are research partnerships between universities and NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).  The NIHR BTRU in Red Blood Cell Products is part of and funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and is a partnership between the University of Bristol and NHSBT, in collaboration with the University of Warwick, the University of Bath and the University of the West of England. The Director of the BTRU is Professor David Anstee and the Deputy Director Dr Ashley Toye. NHSBT is jointly funding the clinical trial with NIHR and also funds some of the parallel research themes being carried out by this Unit.

Our research

Red blood cells grown from adult stem cells have the potential to improve the health of people who need regular transfusions throughout their life (e.g. thalassemia, sickle cell and certain cancers). As this is freshly grown blood, it could reduce the frequency of transfusion, reduce the treatment burden for patients and the unwanted side effects of frequent transfusions. To determine whether these treatments can fulfil their potential we will conduct a clinical trial in volunteers to assess the performance of laboratory grown cells compared to donated red blood cells.

We are also conducting a research programme to produce larger volumes of red blood cells.

Our research sites

Find out where we are conducting our research.

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