Navigation Links
UNC researchers inch closer to unlocking potential of synthetic blood

A team of scientists has created particles that closely mirror some of the key properties of red blood cells, potentially helping pave the way for the development of synthetic blood.

The new discovery outlined in a study appearing in the online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week of Jan. 10, 2011 also could lead to more effective treatments for life threatening medical conditions such as cancer.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers used technology known as PRINT (Particle Replication in Non-wetting Templates) to produce very soft hydrogel particles that mimic the size, shape and flexibility of red blood cells, allowing the particles to circulate in the body for extended periods of time.

Tests of the particles' ability to perform functions such as transporting oxygen or carrying therapeutic drugs have not been conducted, and they do not remain in the cardiovascular system as long as real red blood cells.

However, the researchers believe the findings especially regarding flexibility are significant because red blood cells naturally deform in order to pass through microscopic pores in organs and narrow blood vessels. Over their 120-day lifespan, real cells gradually become stiffer and eventually are filtered out of circulation when they can no longer deform enough to pass through pores in the spleen. To date, attempts to create effective red blood cell mimics have been limited because the particles tend to be quickly filtered out of circulation due to their inflexibility.

Beyond moving closer to producing fully synthetic blood, the findings could affect approaches to treating cancer. Cancer cells are softer than healthy cells, enabling them to lodge in different places in the body, leading to the disease's spread. Particles loaded with cancer-fighting medicines that can remain in circulation longer may open the door to more aggressive treatment approaches.

"Creating particles for extended circulation in the blood stream has been a significant challenge in the development of drug delivery systems from the beginning," said Joseph DeSimone, Ph.D., the study's co-lead investigator, Chancellor's Eminent Professor of Chemistry in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences, a member of UNC's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at N.C. State University. "Although we will have to consider particle deformability along with other parameters when we study the behavior of particles in the human body, we believe this study represents a real game changer for the future of nanomedicine."

Chad Mirkin, Ph.D., George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University, said the ability to mimic the natural processes of a body for medicinal purposes has been a long-standing but evasive goal for researchers. "These findings are significant since the ability to reproducibly synthesize micron-scale particles with tunable deformability that can move through the body unrestricted as do red blood cells, opens the door to a new frontier in treating disease," said Mirkin, who also is a member of President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and director of Northwestern's International Institute for Nanotechnology.

UNC researchers designed the hydrogel material for the study to make particles of varying stiffness. Then, using PRINT technology a technique invented in DeSimone's lab to produce nanoparticles with control over size, shape and chemistry they created molds, which were filled with the hydrogel solution and processed to produce thousands of red blood cell-like discs, each a mere 6 micrometers in diameter.

The team then tested the particles to determine their ability to circulate in the body without being filtered out by various organs. When tested in mice, the more flexible particles lasted 30 times longer than stiffer ones: the least flexible particles disappeared from circulation with a half-life of 2.88 hours, compared to 93.29 hours for the most flexible ones. Stiffness also influenced where particles eventually ended up: more rigid particles tended to lodge in the lungs, but the more flexible particles did not; instead, they were removed by the spleen, the organ that typically removes old real red blood cells.


Contact: Patric Lane
University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Related medicine news :

1. Researchers map all the fragile sites of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiaes genome
2. UH Case Medical Center researchers publish promising findings for advanced cervical cancer
3. Researchers discover new way to kill pediatric brain tumors
4. Researchers Who Discovered First Genes for Stuttering will Present Findings to the National Stuttering Association
5. Researchers create drug to keep tumor growth switched off
6. Urine protein test might help diagnose kidney damage from lupus, UT Southwestern researchers find
7. GUMC researchers say flower power may reduce resistance to breast cancer drug tamoxifen
8. Clemson researchers develop hands-free texting application
9. Researchers find biomarkers in saliva for detection of early-stage pancreatic cancer
10. Researchers chart genomic map spanning over 2 dozen cancers
11. Researchers discover second protective role for tumor-suppressor
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 30, 2015 , ... An inventor from Charlottesville, Va., is concerned about the ... had high blood pressure due to loud noises," she said, "so I decided that ... pollution as well as radio waves and microwaves." , The baby BABY MUFF prevents ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... In an interview with Andy Mitchell of Peconic ... on Long Island’s east end. During the broadcast, entitled “Eyes: the Window to the ... glaucoma and cataracts, and how a visit with his grandmother to her physician put ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Since its inception, Seniors ... independent living, assisted living and all other retirement options. Support for issues surrounding ... research remains a top priority. , So it’s no surprise that every ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Holcomb – Kreithen Plastic ... surgery practices in Florida, is proud to announce that Dr. Joshua Kreithen, one ... Ethicon Inc., a Johnson & Johnson Company. , Ethicon is a global medical ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Sikka Software announced today that they are showcasing ... dentists to make complex business decisions by providing the tools and information they need ... survey with 10 procedures customized by zip code. , The Sikka Software Ecosystem ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015   Nuance Communications, Inc. ... National Decision Support Company (NDSC) today jointly announced ... collaboration capabilities that utilize the American College of Radiology,s ... provider organizations to comply with current and emerging ... --> By combining clinical decision support, ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Booth #4303 – The Imaging Components business of ... broader array of products in a new booth (#4303) at ... North America in Chicago ... X-ray components "At the Heart of Imaging." Products will include ... Varian,s Claymount brand, and computer-aided diagnostic software from MeVis as ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 30, 2015  Hanger, Inc. (NYSE: HGR ) ... the terms of its previously announced consent solicitation (as ... $200,000,000 aggregate principal amount 7⅛% Senior Notes due 2018 ... consent fees payable pursuant to the Consent Solicitation, (ii) ... (iii) the expiration date of the Consent Solicitation.    ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: