June 5, 2020


Aim for Excellence

Donut Sugar Could Help Stored Blood Last

Blood donations conserve lives. But blood can only be stored under refrigeration for up to...

Blood donations conserve lives. But blood can only be stored under refrigeration for up to 6 months. Soon after that, it’s no more time usable for transfusions. 

“Because of that limitation, folks have to continuously donate blood to fulfill the requires, but also in places wherever refrigeration might not be offered, that can also be a challenge. It’s tricky to have blood offered when necessary.” 

College of Louisville bioengineer Jonathan Kopachek. He says disruptions to regular blood donations owing to COVID-19 have set strain on the blood provide, and the pandemic underscores the want for extra reliable extensive-expression storage procedures.  Blood can be frozen for extended durations of time…

“But it’s really rare for the reason that of all the difficulties and complexities with that procedure.”

Instead, Kopachek’s workforce has produced a strategy of preserving blood so it can be stored in a dehydrated point out at room temperature. To do so, they turned to an unusual preservative: a sugar called trehalose, which is a widespread component in donuts

“To help make them look fresh new even when they may well be months aged, and you would not know the distinction.”

The researchers selected trehalose for the reason that in mother nature it’s manufactured by hardy animals like tardigrades and sea-monkeys—a.k.a. brine shrimp—famous for their capacity to survive dehydration.

“So these animals can dry out absolutely for a extensive interval of time and then be rehydrated and resume ordinary purpose. So we required to use the trehalose which is produced by these organisms and use that to preserving blood cells in a dried point out, just like all those organisms are.”

But initially, the researchers experienced to get trehalose into blood cells. They made use of ultrasound to drill temporary holes in the cell membranes. Which let some trehalose get in.

“And they want to have ample levels of trehalose on both of those the inside and the outside of the cell in purchase to survive the dehydration and rehydration procedure.”

At that stage, the blood could be dried and manufactured into a powder.  

“And then we can rehydrate the blood and have it return back again to ordinary.”

The workforce is however making an attempt to increase yields, but thinks the dried blood could be stored at room temperature for a long time. The review is in the journal Biomicrofluidics. [Connor S. Centner, et al., Ultrasound-induced molecular delivery to erythrocytes making use of a microfluidic procedure]

Kopachek says the procedure could be prepared for clinical trials in a few to 5 a long time. If effective, it could be made use of to create shops of dried blood in situation of long run pandemics or organic disasters. And for humanitarian aid work, army operations, or even missions to Mars. Perhaps initially-aid kits on the Red World will consist of dried red blood cells.

—Susanne Bard

(The higher than text is a transcript of this podcast)