Artificial Blood Experiment a Transylvanian Triumph in Science
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The legend of Dracula has long been synonymous with Transylvania, so it's appropriate that the first-ever successful artificial-blood experiment comes from Cluj-Napoca, a city in the infamous Romanian province.
After six years of experimentation on mice, Romanian researcher Dr. Radu Silaghi-Dumitrescu and his team found that their blood formula had no harmful side effects. Now they hope to test it on human subjects in the next few years, according to Medical Daily.
Unlike other experiments, the blood is produced using hemerythrin, a protein extracted from sea worms, and mixed with water and salts. Hemerythrin transports oxygen in the blood of marine invertebrates, while previous artificial-bloods tests relied on hemoglobin, a red protein that transfers oxygen in the blood of almost all living organisms.
While hemoglobin cannot withstand physical and chemical stress when introduced into a living organism, the Romanian research team discovered that hemerythrin is much more resilient and suitable for the stress of transfusion.
In an interview with Medical Daily, Silaghi-Dumitrescu said, "Doctors can use the artificial blood to reduce infection rates during blood donation, and to supply lost stores in patients for several hours or even up to a day."
"People have been trying to produce artificial blood oxygen carriers as temporary substitutes for blood, for decades now. There are several groups working on the same topic at this time, and to my knowledge there is, even, a product approved for limited human use in South Africa," said Silaghi-Dumitrescu in an email to Mashable.
Silaghi-Dumitrescu and his colleagues said their artificial blood presented no health risks to the mice, and that they are working toward getting approval from Romania's clinical trial regulatory agency to test it on humans. Silaghi-Dumitrescu added that eventually, "instant blood" could be available, where simply adding water to a portable tube would produce artificial blood.