Each year, worldwide 5.6 million people die as a result of trauma. This fact makes uncontrolled bleeding the major cause of preventable death. Additionally, since almost 50% of the traumatic injures affect young people, uncontrolled bleeding has a tremendous social impact and results in an important financial burden to the healthcare system.
Donor red blood cells (RBCs) have the ability to restore O2 transport capacity and, as such, blood transfusions are a life-saving procedure for patients who have lost significant blood volume. However, time-consuming hurdles such as pathogen testing or donor-recipient cross-matching, need to be carried out prior to transfusion, causing fatal delays in emergency situations. Additionally, since donor RBCs can only be stored for a short period of time, stockpiles to be used in acute disasters do not exist.
Thus, blood substitutes prevail as highly sought after technologies to resolve the limitations associated with donor blood.
However, despite the intense efforts in the last decades, no product is currently approved for human use. This can be attributed to the rapid development of blood substitutes in the 1980s, due to fear of HIV contaminated blood, which resulted in a number of failures. Importantly, while research efforts have focused mostly on the development of simple O2-carriers, it is noted that, apart from O2-delivery, biological RBCs are also responsible for CO2 transport, nitric oxide regulation, and antioxidant functions; all of them crucial and life-saving tasks.
To this end, the ambitious goal of this proposal is to create a RBC MIMIC replicating the fundamental and potentially life-saving biochemical and biophysical aspects of RBCs.
Furthermore, to address patients co-morbidities resulting from acute blood loss, RBC MIMIC will be implemented with additional/extra tasks that are not present in biological RBCs.
I envision that RBC MIMIC will result on a superior blood surrogate for early stage resuscitation.
Call for proposal
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