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CBS: Embryonic Stem Cells Could Provide 'An Unlimited Supply of Blood'

Monday's CBS Early Show promoted embryonic stem cell research as co-host Julie Chen declared: "And blood shortages at hospitals could become a thing of the past. We're going to tell you how stem cells could hold the key to creating artificial blood." She later teased the story: "Up next, a doctor's dream, an unlimited supply of blood. We're going to tell you how one researcher thinks it can happen soon."

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In a later report on the research, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer explained: "Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. In surgery, on cancer wards, and on America's battlefields, blood transfusions save lives...And elsewhere, especially in the developing world, there's a real chance the blood could be contaminated with diseases like AIDS or Hepatitis C. Enter Dr. Marc Turner, a cell biologist from Scotland who's received a multimillion-dollar research grant to make blood in his lab from human stem cells."

Dr. Turner described the process while avoiding saying that human embryos would be destroyed: "These cells are being generated from human embryonic stem cells, which themselves are generated from three to five-day-old human embryos." Palmer similarly avoided the word 'destruction': "Stem cells can be coaxed, theoretically, to grow into any human body part. Dr. Turner's team will try to make them grow into O-negative blood. If they're successful, the payoff is huge.

Palmer highlighted a cancer patient who may benefit: "Martin King's post-cancer treatment means he needs blood every three weeks." Palmer later concluded here report: "Stem cell blood will probably not be available widely for transfusions for a decade. For millions around the world, though, it can't come soon enough."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:11AM TEASE:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Plus, artificial blood. Could we be one step closer to ending the blood shortage forever? We'll tackle that provocative question ahead this morning on the Early Show.

7:30AM TEASE:

JULIE CHEN: And blood shortages at hospitals could become a thing of the past. We're going to tell you how stem cells could hold the key to creating artificial blood.

7:44AM TEASE:

CHEN: Up next, a doctor's dream, an unlimited supply of blood. We're going to tell you how one researcher thinks it can happen soon.

7:47AM SEGMENT:

JULIE CHEN: On this morning's 'Health Watch,' giving blood. No donors required. A British scientist has created blood in his lab and will soon be testing it on volunteers. CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports.

ELIZABETH PALMER: Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. In surgery, on cancer wards, and on America's battlefields, blood transfusions save lives. But in the U.S., demand often exceeds supply. And elsewhere, especially in the developing world, there's a real chance the blood could be contaminated with diseases like AIDS or Hepatitis C. Enter Dr. Marc Turner, a cell biologist from Scotland who's received a multimillion-dollar research grant to make blood in his lab from human stem cells.

MARC TURNER: These cells are being generated from human embryonic stem cells, which themselves are generated from three to five-day-old human embryos.

PALMER: Stem cells can be coaxed, theoretically, to grow into any human body part. Dr. Turner's team will try to make them grow into O-negative blood. If they're successful, the payoff is huge.

GAIL ROBOZ: What would be phenomenal would be if we could create infection-free blood that is laboratory generated.

PALMER: Martin King's post-cancer treatment means he needs blood every three weeks.

MARTIN KING: If there's a way to make sure that that blood supply never goes down, that would be extremely helpful.

PALMER: Stem cell blood will probably not be available widely for transfusions for a decade. For millions around the world, though, it can't come soon enough. Elizabeth Palmer, CBS News, London.

Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.