An advance toward blood transfusions that require no typing

March 9, 2011

Scientists are reporting an "important step" toward development of a universal blood product that would eliminate the need to "type" blood to match donor and recipient before transfusions. A report on the "immunocamouflage" technique, which hides blood cells from antibodies that could trigger a potentially fatal immune reaction that occurs when blood types do not match, appears in the ACS journal, Biomacromolecules.

Maryam Tabrizian and colleagues note that blood transfusions require a correct match between a donor and the recipient's blood. This can be a tricky proposition given that there are 29 different types, including the familiar ABO and Rh types. The wrong blood type can provoke serious immune reactions that result in or death, so scientists have long sought a way to create an all-purpose red blood cell for transfusions that doesn't rely on costly blood typing or donations of a specific blood type.

To develop this "universal" red blood cell, the scientists discovered a way to encase living, individual red blood cells within a multilayered polymer shell. The shell serves as a cloaking device, they found, making the cell invisible to a person's immune system and able to evade detection and rejection. Oxygen can still penetrate the polymer shell, however, so the red cells can carry on their main business of supplying oxygen to the body. "The results of this study mark an important step toward the production of universal RBCs," the study states.

Explore further: Blood banks ban women from giving plasma

More information: "Investigation of Layer-by-Layer Assembly of Polyelectrolytes on Fully Functional Human Red Blood Cells in Suspension for Attenuated Immune Response", Biomacromolecules.

Related Stories

First paper 'dipstick' test for determining blood type

June 2, 2010

Scientists are reporting development of the first "dipstick" test for instantly determining a person's blood type at a cost of just a few pennies. Their study on the test, which involves placing a drop of blood on a specially ...

Filtering donor blood reduces heart, lung complications

June 22, 2010

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) have discovered yet another reason to filter the foreign white cells from donor blood: The resulting blood product is associated with dramatically fewer cardiopulmonary ...

Recommended for you

A new form of real gold, almost as light as air

November 25, 2015

Researchers at ETH Zurich have created a new type of foam made of real gold. It is the lightest form ever produced of the precious metal: a thousand times lighter than its conventional form and yet it is nearly impossible ...

Getting under the skin of a medieval mystery

November 23, 2015

A simple PVC eraser has helped an international team of scientists led by bioarchaeologists at the University of York to resolve the mystery surrounding the tissue-thin parchment used by medieval scribes to produce the first ...

Moonlighting molecules: Finding new uses for old enzymes

November 27, 2015

A collaboration between the University of Cambridge and MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, has led researchers to identify a potentially significant new application for a well-known ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Mar 09, 2011
I wonder if this approach can be used in vivo to treat areas inflammed through autoimmune reactions?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.