Artificial BLOOD stored as powder could be used in life-saving transfusions within the next 10 years
- It is based on synthetic nanocells which mimic red blood cells in the body
- Trials have shown it can keep animals alive as well as normal blood transfusions
- The 'just add water' approach could prove vital to medics working in the field, helping to save trauma patients dying from shock at the scene
For medics in the field, getting replacement blood into patients as soon as possible can make the difference between life or death.
But scientists working to develop artificial blood cells could bring life-saving transfusions to more trauma patients within the next 10 years.
The hope is that the artificial blood could be freeze dried and stored in powder form, ready for use by paramedics and combat medics on the battlefield.
Scientists are developing artificial blood which could bring life-saving transfusions to more trauma patients. It won’t replace human blood, but it could buy patients vital time they need to get to hospital and receive donor blood
At the heart of the breakthrough are tiny synthetic cells which mimic red blood cells, holding onto oxygen and slowly releasing it as they circulate around the body.
Developed by a team at Washington University in St Louis, the artificial cells carry oxygen to tissues and have already been shown to be effective in animals.
At around 2 per cent the size of a human red blood cell, the synthetic blood cells can be stored at room temperature and mixed with water, ready for use.
Dr Allan Doctor, who is leading the research, told CBS News: ‘It’s a dried powder that looks like paprika, basically.
At around 2 per cent the size of a human red blood cell, the synthetic blood cells can be stored at room temperature and mixed with water, ready for use
ARTIFICIAL BLOOD COULD BE A LIFE-SAVER
‘It can be stored in an IV plastic bag that a medic would carry, either in their ambulance or in a backpack, for a year or more.
‘When they need to use it, they spike the bag with sterile water, mix it, and it’s ready to inject right then and there.’
Called ErythroMer, the artificial blood has already jumped through the first clinical hoop, proving effective in animal trials.
In studies with mice, researchers replaced a large volume of blood with the artificial substitute, showing the manmade cells were able to capture oxygen and release it in tissues around the body just as well as the animals’ own cells.
Further trials in rats demonstrated the artificial blood could be used to resuscitate animals in shock who had lost 40 per cent of their blood.
For trauma patients involved in accidents, they may make it out alive but die en route to the hospital from circulatory shock.
The massive blood loss caused by the trauma, either through bleeding out or internal bleeding, means the body’s tissues are not receiving enough oxygen and start to fail – even if they survived the initial trauma intact.
While it won’t replace human blood, it could buy patients vital time they need to get to hospital and receive a blood transfusion.
Highlighting the potential uses, Dr Doctor said the blood could be used to resuscitate trauma victims involved in accidents in hard to reach areas or for soldiers injured in battle, unable to be evacuated.
When the blood is required, this powder would be mixed with water, ready for transfusion. Unlike human red blood cells, which live for around 120 days, the synthetic doughnut-shaped cells only last a few days
‘ErythroMer would be a blood substitute that a medic can carry in his or her pack and literally take it out, add water, and inject it,’ he said.
‘There are currently no simple, practical means to bring transfusion to most trauma victims outside of hospitals.
‘Delays in resuscitation significantly impact outcomes; it is our goal to push timely, effective care to field settings.’
Previous synthetic blood products ran into issues with releasing the oxygen effectively and adjusting to pH changes in the body, but the group claims ErythroMer has overcome these issues.
In addition, they say the proof of concept studies show it also avoids the constriction of blood vessels which could lead to heart attacks and stroke.
The team believes that if the next phases of clinical testing go to plan, the artificial blood could be made available within the next 10 years.
Dr Doctor will present the findings at a meeting of the American Society of Hematology in San Diego this weekend.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4005128/Artificial-BLOOD-stored-powder-used-life-saving-transfusions-10-years.html#ixzz4S6EPmaTd