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Synthetic Blood Helps Stem Massive Hemorrhages

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 09 Oct 2019
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Image: Artificially created red blood cells (Photo courtesy Manabu Kinoshita/ NDMC).
Image: Artificially created red blood cells (Photo courtesy Manabu Kinoshita/ NDMC).
An artificial blood that can be transfused into trauma patients regardless of their blood type can vastly improve their chances for survival, according to a new study.

Developed at the National Defense Medical College (NDMC; Saitama, Japan), Waseda University (Tokyo, Japan), and Nara Medical University (Nara, Japan), the artificial blood contains hemoglobin vesicles (HbVs) and fibrinogen γ‐chain (dodecapeptide HHLGGAKQAGDV, H12)–coated, adenosine diphosphate (ADP)‐encapsulated liposomes that together, form a combination therapy that can substitute the red blood cells (RBCs) and platelets found in normal blood. The artificial blood can be stored at normal room temperatures for more than a year.

To test the synthetic blood, the researchers first instigated thrombocytopenia in 10 rabbits by repeated blood withdrawal and isovolemic transfusion with autologous RBCs. Lethal traumatic hemorrhage was then induced by non-compressible penetrating liver injury. Subsequently, the encapsulated liposomes were administered to stop bleeding, achieving 100% hemostasis in all animals. The subsequent HbV administration rescued 75% of the rabbits from fatal anemia. The study was published in the October 2019 issue of Transfusion.

“The blood types of patients must be confirmed before they can receive transfusions, so emergency medical technicians and other health care workers are prohibited from transfusing blood in ambulances. Since blood type is not an issue with the artificial blood, injured patients can be treated before they arrive at hospitals, resulting in a higher survival rate,” said study co-author immunologist Manabu Kinoshita, PhD, of NDMC, to Asahi Shimbun. “It is difficult to stock a sufficient amount of blood for transfusions in such regions as remote islands. The artificial blood will be able to save the lives of people who otherwise could not be saved.”

Blood shortage is a global healthcare problem, and is likely to become even more problematic as people live longer and donor numbers dwindle.

Related Links:
National Defense Medical College
Waseda University
Nara Medical

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