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Biotech Science

All Blood Converted to Type O? 206

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the pumped-iron dept.
UnanimousCoward writes "The BBC is reporting that scientists claim to have discovered a technique to convert all blood into Type O with the discovery of an enzyme that can strip the A and B antigens. This has implications to transform the stored blood supply into transfusable blood for all. It does not address the RH negative issue, however."
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All Blood Converted to Type O?

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  • Damn. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Stanistani (808333) on Monday April 02, 2007 @01:30PM (#18576193) Homepage Journal
    Now I can't sell my rare blood at a premium. It was my only worthwhile body fluid since they shut down the saliva banks.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by beckerist (985855)
      At least I can still sell my mighty swimmers! [ehow.com]
    • Synthetic Blood (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gears6556 (1038624)
      I'm actually surprised that we haven't developed synthetic blood before now. We've known about blood types for 100 years and I keep expecting to see a machine producing blood cells in the news any day now.

      Provided with the proper nutrients couldn't we keep a cell alive and dividing to have an unlimited supply?

      Something I didn't know before that I learned from the article: Anyone can receive type O blood without risk.

      Great post!
      • Re:Synthetic Blood (Score:5, Interesting)

        by networkBoy (774728) on Monday April 02, 2007 @01:50PM (#18576519) Homepage Journal
        Not entirely, there is such a thing as graft Vs host, whereby if the recipient receives too much blood the donor blood can attack the person's body. Yes you can strip the white cells, but this is slow and costly, the former prohibits doing it at time of need, the latter from doing it "just in case". Not normally an issue except when massive bleeding due to extreme trauma or bleeding disorder are present as below.

        As the father of a type O son with hemophilia this is awesome news. Opens up a much wider source of blood should the worst happen, especially since my wife and I are neither type O, and my father in law, while type O is also hemophilic.
        -nB
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by empaler (130732)
          I've always held that being blood type AB is probably one of the biggest fortunes of my life. Of course, like all other privileges, it should be shared, and even though I can get tap water in my veins and my body won't reject it, I donate (note: not sell) willingly and regularly to help others. In the end, if they start running low, it won't affect me if I get run down in that time, but that'd just mean I'd be taking blood that could help others.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by chooks (71012)
          Actually graft vs. host is due to lymphocytes of the donor attacking the cells of the recipient and does not directly have to do with blood volume (although obviously, the more blood you get, the more foreign lymphocytes you will get). In most people this is not a big deal b/c the immune system of the recipient can handle the foreign lymphocytes appropriately. However in immunodeficient individuals (or young people with underdeveloped immune systems) this is not good, since they do not have the ability to
      • Re:Synthetic Blood (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jimstapleton (999106) on Monday April 02, 2007 @01:50PM (#18576535) Journal
        blood is a horribly complex substance.

        In labs, there are several growth mediums made from cow blood (remove the red blood cells as well as several other factors). They can't be properly synthesized because of how complex it is, and that's even after the most complex stuff is removed.

        It's not suprising at all that we can't synthesize it, but it's nice that we can "produce" type O from other types.
      • Re:Synthetic Blood (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Firethorn (177587) on Monday April 02, 2007 @01:52PM (#18576563) Homepage Journal
        Something I didn't know before that I learned from the article: Anyone can receive type O blood without risk

        I got that from junior high biology. Actual issues are more complicated when you get in deep, of course. One oddball is that you can usually survive 1 non-matching transfusion, even if it's incompatible. After that your immune system is 'primed', much like for a vaccination, and will attack a second transfusion with extreme prejudice, likely resulting in your death.

        And we are testing at least one blood substitute. The last one I read about(sorry, dead tree article), was intended for use in ambulances, which can't normally carry blood. Unfortuantly, it actually performed worse than saline IV's when it came to patient survival.

        As for simply cloning a blood supply, it's difficult because you'd have to clone marrow, as blood cells no longer have a nucleous. Not insurmountable at this point, but currently unable to compete with donated blood.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jimstapleton (999106)
          Actually, only red blood cells lack a nucleus, the rest of the blood cells have them. Also there are three locations of blood cell development - marrow, liver, and I think spleen or pancreas (may be wrong on both counts in the last one). But I don't remember which cells have which parts of the development where. It's been a while since I've studied that.

          • Re:Synthetic Blood (Score:4, Informative)

            by milamber3 (173273) on Monday April 02, 2007 @02:06PM (#18576773)
            First off, it's the red blood cells that are important in the majority of transfusions so that is why the lack of a nucleus is pointed out by the gp post. Secondly, blood cells are created in the marrow so I'm not sure what your point is about development. Some blood cells do mature in other places (e.g. thymus and spleen) but you're not going to be getting any blood if you try to grow new cells out of a tissue besides the marrow.
          • Re:Synthetic Blood (Score:4, Informative)

            by Firethorn (177587) on Monday April 02, 2007 @03:16PM (#18577737) Homepage Journal
            As milamber3 said, it's the red blood cells they need, followed by platelets. If they could remove everything else, leaving a saline/glucose solution with rbc and platelets, they'd likely do it. Heck, there's situations where they'd want to remove the platelets as well.

            In an emergency situation you wouldn't be worried about the nutritional substances. There it's about keeping oxygen flow up until they get to the hospital. Heck, with a working artificial blood substitute if that means they gotta run 5 gallons through you, they can do it.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Thwaites (614532)
            Just an FYI ...

            You're correct about the marrow and liver creating RBC's. The other organ is the spleen (as you mentioned); however, the spleen only creates RBC's (haematopoeisis) up until around the 5th or 6th month of gestation. After that, the spleen behaves like an recycling plant, returning the components of RBCs undergoing apoptosis (controlled cell death) to the body.

            The more you know!
        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 02, 2007 @02:13PM (#18576849)
          You are such a pessimist. Is your blood type B-negative?

        • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Monday April 02, 2007 @02:13PM (#18576863) Journal
          you can usually survive 1 non-matching transfusion, even if it's incompatible. After that your immune system is 'primed', much like for a vaccination, and will attack a second transfusion with extreme prejudice, likely resulting in your death.

          Which brings up the issue of whether the body would develop an immunity to the enzyme, potentially producing a fatal anaphylactic reaction upon a future transfusion.

          On the other hand, if the enzyme remains in the serum rather than attaching to the red cells the reaction would not produce the fatal clumping. Meanwhile the allergy to the enzyme, even if severe, could be handled by other drugs...

          Which would also suppress the immune system somewhat - in a hospital "superbug" environment. So artificial type-O will likely remain an emergency measure, and type-O donors will remain in demand.
          • I'm no microbiologist, but I find it unlikely that enzymes will trigger an immune response, especially if they're not often encountered. The reason that cells are antigens is their surface proteins, but obviously a single protein does not have such things.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              In fact, enzymes are just protein chains and allergies are frequently reactions to foreign proteins so it is a very legitimate concern.
            • There's a chance anytime you inject something into the human body there of there being an immune response to it. Very few items are immune from this.
        • Re:Synthetic Blood (Score:4, Informative)

          by norton_I (64015) <hobbes@utrek.dhs.org> on Monday April 02, 2007 @02:39PM (#18577259)
          Clinical trials recently finished for Polyheme by Northfield Labs, which takes expired blood and polymerizes the hemoglobin to make a long lasting, oxygen carying substitute for saline, which is currently used in amulences to maintain blood pressure but does not carry oxygen. It also showed the potential for a superiority to blood in massive trauma situations since it avoids the immune response.

          Unfortunately, the initial reports from the trials failed to show even non-inferiority over saline, though there were multiple issues of coding errors by the 3rd party data analysis company, and they are in the process of reviewing the database to see if their conclusions were correct.

          The work is very hard since you have to get FDA approval to do non-consent trials of an experimental procedure.

          There are other procedures under development that use non-human blood as the hemoglobin source, but they are not to testing phases yet, and there are some additional problems that need to be solved to avoid rejection in those cases.
      • Re:Synthetic Blood (Score:4, Informative)

        by WhyDoYouWantToKnow (1039964) on Monday April 02, 2007 @01:54PM (#18576595)
        There have been attempts to synthesize RBC's (red blood cells). The linked article discuses a current synthetic blood product. While there are many advantages, there are still a number of issues to overcome before this becomes a viable alternative to RBC transfusions.

        http://biomed.brown.edu/Courses/BI108/BI108_2005_G roups/10/webpages/HBOClink.htm [brown.edu]

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Doctor Memory (6336)
        There was that stuff they had back in the 70s, can't remember the name any more. It was a form of liquid Teflon, I remember they showed a rat with a weight tied to one leg being dropped in a beaker full of the stuff (after it had been oxygenated) and apparently it stayed in there for several minutes and suffered no ill effects afterwards.

        One problem with the synthetic blood is that it wasn't as efficient at oxygen transfer as real blood, and ISTR there were some issues with the body's ability to excrete it
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluosol [wikipedia.org] You're welcome.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by tpjunkie (911544)
          That was a liquid chlorocarbon, which polymerized can be used to create teflon and other useful plastics. It has been well known for some time that these solutions can hold enough oxygen to be viable breathing solutions for applications like deep sea diving. However, that is in no way similar to a blood substitute. The problems with synthetic blood substitutes are myriad, including but not limited to the difficulties of creating a substance that can function as oxygen donor and CO2 recipient in the same ma
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          There was that stuff they had back in the 70s, can't remember the name any more. It was a form of liquid Teflon, I remember they showed a rat with a weight tied to one leg being dropped in a beaker full of the stuff (after it had been oxygenated) and apparently it stayed in there for several minutes and suffered no ill effects afterwards.

          Oxygenated perfluorocarbons. For those interested in seeing it in action, watch The Abyss. The scene with the rat being submerged in the stuff was not a special effect.

      • by yabos (719499)
        Actually people have tried already http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/reporter/index.html?I D=224 [vanderbilt.edu] for one example.
        I remember reading about a synthetic blood that was being tested on the public in I believe some parts of New York through the ambulances. You also didn't have any choice if you wanted this synthetic blood either, you just got it or not depending on your luck.
      • I'm actually surprised that we haven't developed synthetic blood before now

        It's been tried various times (Google is your friend if you're so inclined). Doesn't seem to work for humans, there is a commercial product for dogs that isn't terribly expensive (about $80 per unit).

      • by X0563511 (793323) *
        The problem is that a blood cell does not have a nucleus and cannot multiply - they are specialized cells...
      • by brarrr (99867)
        Check out a company called Northfield Labs (http://www.northfieldlabs.com/) as they're attempting to make a synthetic blood replacement for use in trauma treatment.
      • by StikyPad (445176)
        I'm actually surprised that we haven't developed synthetic blood before now.

        Like this [newscientist.com]?

        Also, the only benefit of having O- blood is a regular phone call from the Red Cross begging for a donation. Although you may not necessarily see that as a benefit, depending on your particular level of lonliness.
    • I know you're joking but last I recall, AB- blood isn't as much a commodity as you think it is. O+ blood is called the "universal donor" and AB- is the universal receiver and thusly O+ blood gets used a lot and as such guess which blood type is in the most demand...0+. They like to use AB- blood on people who have AB- but if it's not available they tend to take it from the O+ supply which leaves people with O+ blood at a loss.

      Besides, in my state it's illegal to sell whole blood; you can sell plasma but
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tdelaney (458893)
        That would be O- not O+. Negative RH can donate to positive RH, but not the other way around.
  • Uh oh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Spudtrooper (1073512) on Monday April 02, 2007 @01:32PM (#18576219)
    • When I lived in Japan, I grew so annoyed by the concept of blood-type-based character predestination that I decided to have some fun with the idea. When Japanese people asked me my blood type, I replied 'C', and went on to explain (plausibly enough) that the reason they hadn't heard of it was that it occurred only in European populations. It worked most of the time, although I usually folded and admitted that there was no such thing after stringing them along a bit.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pope (17780)
      Good grief!

      All the more reason to round up the superstitious idiots in the world and turn them into an organ bank.
  • by el americano (799629) on Monday April 02, 2007 @01:36PM (#18576291) Homepage
    It does not address the RH negative issue, however

    OK, so not everyone would be a universal recipient, but most people would be. 85% of the US population (apologies to the international community.
  • O negative, eh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by arthurh3535 (447288) on Monday April 02, 2007 @01:38PM (#18576331)
    While I won't mind the ability of people to donate to me, the benefit is actually pretty amazing. O Negative is the preferred donor type, as (IIRC) anyone can accept it, but no other blood type works for us poor O Neg's.

    So this technology could literally save my life!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kenrick (888343)

      O Negative is the preferred donor type, as (IIRC) anyone can accept it, but no other blood type works for us poor O Neg's.

      O Rhesus +ve will work for O negs once. You're born with ABO antibodies but for all other antigens (including Rhesus antigen), you need an initial exposure to trigger antibody development. Therefore, anyone who's Rhesus negative can receive _one_ transfusion of Rhesus positive blood (providing its ABO crossmatched) without major risk of reaction. It's exceedingly bad practice to do this, but can be lifesaving in an emergency (i.e. no other Rhesus negative blood around).

      • O Rhesus +ve will work for O negs once.

        The situation would have to be pretty dire for that to be seriously considered. There's no good way to tell that a patient has *never* received incompatible blood before--there might've been an unnoticed slip-up in the past that could make this idea fatal.

        • Wouldn't you be able to check their blood for antibodies?

          'Course, come to think of it, that'd probably take longer than getting your hands on the right blood...
          • by sokoban (142301)
            You could probably do that. And it wouldn't take very long if you did an ELISA since the rh factor is pretty well known and it would be easy to make the antigens.
          • I was imagining the context of a truly dire emergency--i.e. shipboard and line-of-fire medical facilities. Typing blood is pretty quick and easy, not sure how readily such circumstances could definitively test for other antibodies unless there was some obvious reaction that could be done with a sample of patient blood before administering the donor blood.
    • by PCM2 (4486)
      I haven't heard anybody say it yet, so ... HEY SLASHDOT! Get out there and donate blood!

      Donating blood is very easy and doesn't take a whole lot of your time. Typically you're not going to be light-headed or anything after you do it. It's recommended that you eat hearty before and after you donate, but how hard is that?

      On the plus side, if you donate blood you are helping save somebody's life. LET ME REPEAT THAT. The blood you donate will be used to try to save somebody's life. There is absolutely no reason
  • After a search of 2,500 fungi and bacteria the researchers discovered two bacteria - Elizabethkingia meningosepticum and Bacterioides fragilis - which contained potentially useful enzymes.

    Is it just me, or does anyone else not like the name Elizabethkingia meningosepticum? I don't have a problem with the Elizabethkingia, but the meningosepticum sounds bad, making me think Elizabeth King was not the discoverer but rather the Patient Zero.

    Why can't they be more like astronomers who call things as they see t

    • No.
      It's named after a scientist who first described this type of bacteria. [bacterio.cict.fr]
      "Elizabethkingia Kim et al. 2005, gen. nov.
      Type species: Elizabethkingia meningoseptica (King 1959) Kim et al. 2005.
      Etymology: N.L. fem. n. Elizabethkingia, in honour of Elizabeth O. King, who first described bacteria associated with infant meningitis, notably [Flavobacterium] meningosepticum in 1959."
    • Why can't they be more like astronomers who call things as they see them, like how spots on the sun are called "sunspots"?

      Because biologists like to confuse people and sound important.

      Bandying about drisophila melonagaster sounds smarter than saying fruit fly. But all it really means is "black bellied dew sucker" [answers.com]. Now that's intellectual!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by bcattwoo (737354)

      Why can't they be more like astronomers who call things as they see them, like how spots on the sun are called "sunspots"?
      Because naming thousands of species of bacteria microscopius blobbium wouldn't be very useful?
  • by sas-dot (873348) on Monday April 02, 2007 @01:47PM (#18576465)
    Here more info from Nature [nature.com]

    Scientists have discovered enzymes that can efficiently convert blood groups A, B and AB into the 'universal' O group -- which can be given to anyone but is always in short supply.

    The two novel glycosidase enzymes were identified in bacteria by an international team led by Henrik Clausen of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. The researchers hope that the enzymes will both improve the erratic supplies of blood around the world, and also the safety of transfusions. Clinical trials to test the safety and effectiveness of their converted blood are being planned.

    The ABO blood-type system is based on the presence or absence of the sugar-based antigens 'A' and 'B' on red blood cells. Type O blood cells have neither A nor B antigens, so may be safely transfused into anyone. But types A, B and AB blood do, and cause life-threatening immune reactions if they are given to patients with a different blood group. The bacterial glycosidase enzymes strip these antigens away from A, B and AB blood.

    The idea of such antigen-stripping goes back to the early 1980s, with the discovery of an enzyme in coffee beans that removes B antigens from red blood cells1. Early-stage clinical trials showed that the converted blood could be safely transfused into individuals of different blood groups; no traces of enzyme or antigen remained to cause reactions2. But the enzyme reaction was far too inefficient to make large-scale conversion practical.

    Clausen's team screened 2,500 extracts from different bacteria and fungi for their ability to cleave off A and B antigens. The newly discovered bacterial 'B' enzyme is nearly 1,000 times more efficient then the coffee-bean B enzyme -- the additional discovery of an enzyme to remove A antigens means that all blood types can now be converted. The work is reported in Nature Biotechnology3.
    (snip)

  • Duh (Score:5, Informative)

    by Scott Lockwood (218839) * on Monday April 02, 2007 @01:50PM (#18576521) Homepage Journal

    It does not address the RH negative issue, however.

    Duh. Rh factor is a combination of several different genes. Blood type isn't controlled by those.

    Also, it should be noted that, unlike what several of the replies thus far seem to think, this won't change your blood type - it will only alter blood that has already been removed from the body for future transfusion. Your body will still produce blood of whatever type you normally produce. Also, it basically has the added implication of making more than just O neg the universal donor. After all, if I can 'strip' A, and B off of cells, then A neg, B neg, and AB neg also become universal donors.
    • by jgc7 (910200)
      To add...
      About 8% of the population is O-, and another 10% are one of A-, B-, AB-. O- is the only type of blood you can give a patient without know his blood type, so this would approximately double the supply of blood available for Emergency situations. There really isn't a shortage of any other blood type. O+ is one of the most common blood types (IIRC ~40% of the population is O+). Stripping the Rh factor, would actually be more useful because you could then convert the very common O+ to O-.
  • I am O- (Score:5, Funny)

    by jlowery (47102) on Monday April 02, 2007 @01:50PM (#18576523)
    All bow before me, The Universal Donor!
  • Does it work on blood supplies like what the Red Cross maintains? A lot more people could donate and make a quick buck.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You don't "make a quick buck" by giving blood to the Red Cross.

      That's why it's called a blood donation.
    • by rahvin112 (446269)
      The only thing you get from the Red Cross when giving blood is a cookie and some OJ. The RedCross is a non-profit.
  • by kenrick (888343) on Monday April 02, 2007 @01:57PM (#18576641) Homepage
    Although ABO and RhD grouping systems are the most well-known and the most important, there are a myriad of other blood groups (about 29 last time I checked) that are of relevance when it comes to crossmatching blood for a patient.

    Whilst this potentially is a great step forward, as always with biomedical headlines, it's not the be-all and end-all.
  • So will this converted blood be referred to as being in Antigen-Neutral Distribution Format?
    • by argent (18001)
      ANDF is so last century. They'll jump straight to the .NET framework with Blood# (since they have to track sharps anyway).
  • Fuzzy Types (Score:2, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby (173196)
    There are more blood factors than just the ABO and Rh factors that contribute to defining exclusive immunological blood types [wikipedia.org], so this extremely valuable process is not a panacea [wikipedia.org].
  • by travdaddy (527149) <travoNO@SPAMlinuxmail.org> on Monday April 02, 2007 @02:03PM (#18576733)
    Bad news for Vampires, Type A is the tastiest. So much for just going to the blood bank for meals!
  • In the Meantime (Score:5, Interesting)

    by necro81 (917438) on Monday April 02, 2007 @02:06PM (#18576777) Journal
    Naturally, before this sees widespread clinical use, it'll have to go through a very stringent set of studies, tests, trials, and approvals. So, it may well be 5-10 years before this sees even pilot-program use. Even once in place, this process won't lessen the demand for blood of all types, merely make the blood supply more available.

    So, in the meantime, everyone who is able should at least consider donating blood. It is fast, easy, and (nearly) painless. Many may object to the exclusion [wikipedia.org] criteria [participate.net] used by the Red Cross and other organizations, but the overwhelming majority of eligible donors simply do not give [givelife2.org]. Chances are good that, at some point in your life, you too will need a blood transfusion [givelife2.org].

    Find a blood drive [givelife.org] near you.
    • Re:In the Meantime (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Overzeetop (214511) on Monday April 02, 2007 @02:30PM (#18577119) Journal
      Acatully, I stopped giving blood regularly about 10 years ago. I used to give every two months until I had some blood work done for a physical that revealed I was suffering from low ferritin levels (stored iron, as I understood it). The doctor recommended several tests, but after hearing that I gave blood regularly sugessted that I stop for 6-8 months and get re-tested. My ferritin levels came back to normal. I've given very sproadically since then.

      BTW - does anyone know if there is a publically availble (and layman-readable) list of medications which would cause your blood to be rejected? I usually try to schedule when I've not been taking anything for at least 2 weeks, but as one grows older the periods of time when I'm (a) available and (b) haven't taken a single medication for 2 weeks or more prior are starting to occur with lower frequency.

      It's not that I mind going, but if I'm going to spend an hour and a half of my time, I'd rather not have some techician decide later that my bag goes in the trash 'cause I had heartburn last week.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Yes, the clinics have lists of medications and vaccinations that have a waiting period. It's a reasonably exhaustive list.

        Don't worry about what's going to happen to the blood after you're done with it. After all, you're done with it. If it's suitable for use as blood, it will go to someone who might otherwise have bled to death. If it's not suitable in its current form, it may have the plasma removed and used, or it might go to some other technician to run some tests. (Like whether or not this enzyme can b
        • Actually, my local donation center has the option of giving two units of plasma. I haven't gone since they introduced it (6 maybe 8 months ago). Back in the day they didn't have lists available for perusal. I hadn't realized - never really gave it the thought - that the blood could be used for clinical testing should it prove not suitable for transfustion; that's a reasonable use in its own right. The chunk out of my day is pretty valuable (probabaly close to $250 in lost income when all is said and done).
      • by Epi-man (59145)

        Acatully, I stopped giving blood regularly about 10 years ago. I used to give every two months until I had some blood work done for a physical that revealed I was suffering from low ferritin levels (stored iron, as I understood it). The doctor recommended several tests, but after hearing that I gave blood regularly sugessted that I stop for 6-8 months and get re-tested. My ferritin levels came back to normal. I've given very sproadically since then.

        I had the exact same thing happen to me, wife convinced me

      • by compro01 (777531)
        at my clinic, they have an extensive list of practically every medication that exists and if it invalidates a donor. it's a big 3" 3-ring binder.

        for common stuff, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, ASA, it has to be 3 days since you've taken them.

        any medication that it specifically blood-borne (blood pressure, cholesterol medications, etc.) are automatic ineligibility.

        anything that has a pregnancy category other than A or B is automatic ineligibility as well.

        up here in Canada, you can find out the information about
    • by compro01 (777531)
      already sold. I've been donating regularly for a bit more than 2 years now. and I'm pretty useful, as I'm the semi-universal type (O+).

      though i do think that their exclusion criteria need adjustment. i have not seen any relevant evidence that being homosexual creates any statistically significant increase in the risk of contracting AIDS or any other blood-transmittable STD and they're excluding a moderate number of donors from the pool. the "travel to Britain" part also strikes me as silly, as we have B
    • Many may object to the exclusion criteria used by the Red Cross and other organizations

      I was excluded from giving blood because I have an elevated level of a liver enzyme in the blood that is symptomatic of Hepatitis. I don't have hepatitis; the elevated enzyme level is genetic, and is passed to the males in my family. Still, with full documentation of this, as well as multiple negative Hep tests, I was not allowed to give blood until several years ago.

      The notice I received stated that due to a severe, l

      • by nizo (81281) *
        Huh; I wasn't allowed to donate because of something hepatitis related showing up in my blood the last time I donated (but further tests I had done showed no hepatitis); I wonder if this is why? I am O- so perhaps I will go check again and see if I can donate.
    • by evilviper (135110)

      So, in the meantime, everyone who is able should at least consider donating blood. It is fast, easy, and (nearly) painless.

      I'll consider donating blood, when doctors and hospitals consider giving blood transfusions at cost...

      Have you ever donated to a canned-food drive, so that the charity organization could SELL that donated food to the poor at REDUCED COST?

      If doctors/hospitals would like to continue to make a profit on my blood donation, so would I... If they offered even a trivial amount of cash, just $

      • Where do you think thrift stores get their stock?
        • by evilviper (135110)

          Where do you think thrift stores get their stock?

          Umm... NOT from canned-food drives?

          Thrift stores have 'junk' that people were going to throw out, anyway. I've never had any need to throw out a pint of blood, or nearly any canned-food.
          • They do not want your garbage. They are interested in wearable clothing that you can no longer use, whether from growing up, out, or tired of it.

            I.e. clothes you could potentially sell to someone yourself if you were so inclined.

            They take your donation and go on to sell it. Just like with the blood drives.

            There are several reasons they don't pay for blood, though I agree with you that they're probably specious. One reason is that they are afraid that payment will bring all the undesirables out of the wo
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Seedy2 (126078)
        Yes, lines of people who are probably not eligible.
        Do you thing having a cash incentive to lie is likely to make more people tell the truth about whether they are eligible or not?
        If you need a transfusion, do you want the unit that came from the junkie who lied on the form so they could get something to eat that day?
        The safety of the blood supply goes way down when you start paying people, that's why it's not allowed in the US.
        Anyone who "donates" and gets paid, the plasma isn't going to people, it goes to
    • by dmatos (232892)
      Every year or so I drop in to a donor centre to see if I qualify. I haven't yet. Curse my love of British beef.

      Rest assured, as soon as that exclusion criterion is revoked, I'll be the first in line.

      I've already signed my organ donor card, as I suspect someone dying of kidney failure would rather risk the (low) chance of contracting vCJD than stay on dyalisis.
  • Isn't stripping this DRM off of blood going to be illegal under the DMCA? I mean, you've got it DRM'd so that only certain people can use it, and if you're breaking that....

    Look out for the RIAA!!
  • What will happen? Will it rip the markers off their cells too? That sounds like it could have some bad consequences. If it indeed does, then some sort of filtration process or chemical reaction that kills the enzyme only will have to take place, making it even more costly. These are enzymes, so they will not be used up in the chemical reactions.
  • Breakthrough? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dj_tla (1048764)
    While I may be naive, this sounds like one of the most significant pieces of medical news I've heard in my lifetime. I'm curious about how much impact this news could have if it turns out to be safe and effective. Type O is in short supply compared to other types, for obvious reasons, but does anyone have any statistics (that aren't made up) concerning deaths as a result of not having the proper type of blood? If the current and future blood supplies were converted to type O (theoretically, I would assum
  • by teidou (651247) <.moc.sitif. .ta. .tiat.> on Monday April 02, 2007 @03:31PM (#18577903) Homepage

    My day job is to run a blood bank.

    The enzymes discussed in the article are the next step in 25+ years working toward the goal of making blood universally compatible. The enzymes are years and years away from routine use, if they ever do make it to market. Offhand, major questions that need to be addressed include: Does it *really* work? Is the process cost-effective at manufacturing scales? Is it safe? Does the enzyme affect other proteins so people make antibodies?

    Conversion of non-O RBCs to group O RBCs will make them more widely compatible, and may alleviate the shortage of group O RBCs, but does not affect Rh compatibility or the compatibility of platelets or of FFP. We would still have shortages of these products even when the process is up and running, and, so, we still need people to donate.

    There are a number of guesses, comments, and half-truths posted above. I'll do my best to answer specific (on-topic!) questions posted as replies to this comment.

    Teidou.

  • Maybe the blood banks will stop hovering outside my house like a swarm of mosquitoes! They make sure I know when it's time to donate again.. I can still see the needle hole scar on my right arm from my last three donations... I guess it's time to switch over to my left arm for a year.

    So if I understand correctly, all blood can be made into type O, which anyone except O- will be able to use? Those of us with O- will still require only O-.
    • by compro01 (777531)
      So if I understand correctly, all blood can be made into type O, which anyone except O- will be able to use? Those of us with O- will still require only O-.

      if I'm understanding correctly, it makes any + type into O+ and any - type into O-, so O- will just need any negative type.

      though this isn't counting the sackful of other compatibility factors (there are 29 currently recognized), so this is not an end-all-be-all solution.
  • Wouldn't it be easier to just take all the a/b/ab/RH- bloodtypes out back and shoot them? Afterall when everyone is O+ you won't need to worry about those two factors. It's not too terrible, about half the population would survive.
  • People have voted with their blood.

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