Artificial blood developed for the battlefield

Jul 13, 2010 by Lin Edwards report
blood
Bags of blood collected during donation. Image: Wikipedia.

(PhysOrg.com) -- US scientists working for the experimental arm of the Pentagon have developed artificial blood for use in transfusions for wounded soldiers in battlefields. The blood cells are said to be functionally indistinguishable from normal blood cells and could end forever the problem of blood donor shortages in war zones and difficulties in transporting blood to remote and inaccessible areas.

The blood is made from from discarded human umbilical cords, which are turned into large quantities of by a method called "blood pharming" that mimics the functions of bone marrow. Pharming is a method of using genetically engineered plants or animals to create medically useful substances in large quantities. Using this process the cells from one umbilical cord can produce about 20 units of blood, which is enough for over three transfusions for injured soldiers in the field.

The blood is being manufactured for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) by Ohio company Arteriocyte, which has already submitted samples of O-negative blood to the US (FDA) for evaluation and safety testing. The company received funding of $1.95 million in 2008 to find a way of making large quantities of .

Don Brown of Arteriocyte said the method works but the production needs to be scaled up to produce enough blood. Scaling up would also bring the costs per unit (around a pint) down from the current $5,000 to $1,000 or less. The scaling up could involve improving the technology to produce more units from each umbilical cord, or finding a way to make the culture chambers that mimic bone marrow more efficient and therefore cheaper.

Mr Brown said that in war zones it can take three weeks for donated blood (which mostly comes from donations made in the US) to reach patients. It must be used within a week or two to avoid the risk of or infection that can occur if the blood is stale. There are mobile blood banks in the field, but if there are many injured soldiers, there is often not enough fresh blood available.

Human trials of the "pharmed" blood are expected to start in 2013, but the blood could be available for military use within five years. It could also eventually be used in hospitals to make up for shortages of blood. The is O-negative, which can be used on all patients, regardless of their blood type.

Explore further: First successful vaccination against 'mad cow'-like wasting disease in deer

More information: www.arpa.mil/DSO/thrusts/bio/t… lood_pharm/index.htm

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User comments : 15

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danlgarmstrong
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 13, 2010
Sounds like real blood to me - why is the title about 'artificial blood'? Hopefully they can figure out how to get past that 20 unit limit from the starter cells they get from the umbilical cord, that would make the price drop alot further.
Objectivist
4 / 5 (4) Jul 13, 2010
Why do I recall hearing about this years ago? I specifically remember that it was mentioned to be fortunate for e.g. members of the Jehovas witness cult as they refuse to accept blood from another human.
Skultch
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 13, 2010
I recall hearing about this years ago, also. I probably read it in Sci-Am.

This is GREAT news. As an Iraq war vet, this really hits an emotional chord. I'm also a native Ohioan, so that makes me proud. This will save many, many lives.
mysticshakra
3.9 / 5 (15) Jul 13, 2010
You know what saves even more lives? Not invading other countries under false pretense. Not fighting wars for the financial elite. Not believing that you will be dying to protect freedom.
Parsec
4.6 / 5 (10) Jul 13, 2010
You know what saves even more lives? Not invading other countries under false pretense. Not fighting wars for the financial elite. Not believing that you will be dying to protect freedom.

Car crashes, accidents of all sorts, earthquakes, etc. produce a huge demand for this product. It is a significant advance and will save many lives. Doesn't that matter?
DozerIAm
5 / 5 (7) Jul 13, 2010
"Scaling up would also bring the costs per unit (around a pint) down from the current $5,000 to $1,000 or less."

And I've been giving away my blood to the Red Cross FOR FREE!!!
zealous
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 13, 2010
pffft, the vampires have had this tech for years, this is nothing new
Icester
2.2 / 5 (11) Jul 13, 2010
You know what saves even more lives? Not invading other countries under false pretense. Not fighting wars for the financial elite. Not believing that you will be dying to protect freedom.


Congratulations! You win the "Dumbass Comment of the Day" award.

If you are upset with the U.S.'s policies, then send letters to your Congress-person. Trolling gets you nowhere and does nothing to further your cause.
xanderjones
1 / 5 (2) Jul 13, 2010
Uh oh. This sounds like the beginning of a bad vampire movie.

The artificial blood contaminates some little kid spotlighted in the media, and it turns him into a zombie/werewolf/vampire (take your pick) and he in turn infects an entire city and then this is where our hero comes in and saves the day.

Wow.
mysticshakra
Jul 13, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
rocinante
1 / 5 (2) Jul 13, 2010
"Stupid is as stupid does." - Forrest Gump

Misspelling "Congress" (or "chakra" for that matter) doesn't support your tinfoil-progressive talking points or incline me take you seriously.

Troll fail.
Sanescience
4.8 / 5 (4) Jul 14, 2010
I've read about kinds of artificial blood which are composed of chemical units much smaller than blood cells and can oxygenate through gaps in blockages that prevent normal circulation, can be stored at room temperatures, and have much longer shelf life. If those products are ever perfected, this kind of artificial blood will go the way of the Dodo.
MarkyMark
3 / 5 (2) Jul 17, 2010
They should retail this for Vampires [i.e. the Goth kids] And call it "True Blood".

Seriously tho with blood shortages and problems with contanimation this blood product will save more than just the Soldiers.
trekgeek1
5 / 5 (1) Jul 18, 2010
I've read about kinds of artificial blood which are composed of chemical units much smaller than blood cells and can oxygenate through gaps in blockages that prevent normal circulation, can be stored at room temperatures, and have much longer shelf life. If those products are ever perfected, this kind of artificial blood will go the way of the Dodo.


Yeah, I was checking this out but it doesn't seem that the people in this line of research feel they are very close. Transporting oxygen is one thing, but blood does a lot more. I agree though, if they can do it, medicine would be changed. Maybe for emergencies though, just oxygen would suffice. Especially for strokes where smaller oxygen transport units could help with brain damage.
filmaddict
Jul 19, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
thematrix606
5 / 5 (1) Jul 20, 2010
You know what saves even more lives? Not invading other countries under false pretense. Not fighting wars for the financial elite. Not believing that you will be dying to protect freedom.


I'm happy to see some sane people around. Thank you.
BarryF
not rated yet Jul 24, 2010
You know what saves even more lives? Not invading other countries under false pretense. Not fighting wars for the financial elite. Not believing that you will be dying to protect freedom.


Congratulations! You win the "Dumbass Comment of the Day" award.

If you are upset with the U.S.'s policies, then send letters to your Congress-person. Trolling gets you nowhere and does nothing to further your cause.


If you are upset with his/her right to free speech, then send letters to your Congressperson and ask for a repeal of the first amendment.

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