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Medicine

Artificial Blood Made In Romania 232

Posted by timothy
from the high-demand-in-local-market dept.
First time accepted submitter calinduca writes "Artificial blood that could one day be used in humans without side effects has been created by scientists in Romania. The blood contains water and salts along with a protein known as hemerythrin which is extracted from sea worms. Researchers from Babe-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, hope it could help end blood supply shortages and prevent infections through donations." Wikipedia's entry on hemerythrin explains its unusual oxygen binding mechanism.
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Artificial Blood Made In Romania

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  • Makes sense (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bohnanza (523456) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @11:45AM (#45291717)
    Transylvania is in Romania
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 31, 2013 @11:47AM (#45291747)

    heh. Romania, Dracula, Artificial blood, Halloween ... the late night talk show writers should have a field day with this one if it isn't some sort of elaborate ruse.

  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @11:48AM (#45291767)
    But the fake stuff will do in a pinch.
  • not flaming (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 31, 2013 @11:48AM (#45291777)

    Would something like this be accepted by groups like Jehovah's Witness' that do not accept blood transfusions?

    • Re:not flaming (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HornWumpus (783565) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @11:53AM (#45291843)

      Why should we care? Evolution in action.

      • Re:not flaming (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jeng (926980) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @12:05PM (#45291977)

        Although I understand your sentiment, but many new surgical techniques have been made because of Jehovah witnesses refusal to accept blood transfusions. Many of these techniques end up being better than the one they replaced and therefor all of society gains benefits.

        • Re:not flaming (Score:5, Informative)

          by eulernet (1132389) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @01:15PM (#45292715)

          Citation needed !

          To my knowledge, the new surgical techniques were invented to reduce operation's side-effects (less invasive surgery, less anesthetics, less hospital recovery).
          It also reduces the cost of an operation.

          I found no relation with Jehovah witnesses, so I'm curious to listen where you heard about this ?

          • Citation needed !

            To my knowledge, the new surgical techniques were invented to reduce operation's side-effects (less invasive surgery, less anesthetics, less hospital recovery).
            It also reduces the cost of an operation.

            I found no relation with Jehovah witnesses, so I'm curious to listen where you heard about this ?

            I read about it in Awake!

            • by ttucker (2884057)

              Citation needed !

              To my knowledge, the new surgical techniques were invented to reduce operation's side-effects (less invasive surgery, less anesthetics, less hospital recovery). It also reduces the cost of an operation.

              I found no relation with Jehovah witnesses, so I'm curious to listen where you heard about this ?

              I read about it in Awake!

              I actually LOLed.

          • by bjwest (14070)

            I found no relation with Jehovah witnesses, so I'm curious to listen where you heard about this ?

            He's a Jehovah Witness. He stuck his head in a box and it came to him.

        • You're completely correct. All of our experimental/never-been-tried-before surgical procedures definitely should be tried on JW's first. If you end up running short, let me know. I have at least 2 a month ask to come in my house and I'd be happy to net them for ya.

      • Re:not flaming (Score:5, Informative)

        by CODiNE (27417) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @01:07PM (#45292627) Homepage

        Accepting blood transfusions may not be selecting for the group you think it is.

        If you dig around the references here Bloodless Surgery [wikipedia.org] you'll see a small portion of the studies which have shown the benefits of avoiding blood transfusions.

        A scientifically minded person would applaud advances in synthetic blood and bloodless surgery, not get hung up on one sub-group of the people it benefits.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Not really.
        the death rate isn't high enough to impact evolution
        BTW, bad thinking can take down people besides the bad thinkers, like their kids, neighbors, and so on.

    • From Wikipedia:

      "Watch Tower Society publications teach that the Witnesses' refusal of transfusions of whole blood or its four primary components—red cells, white cells, platelets and plasma—is a non-negotiable religious stand and that those who respect life as a gift from God do not try to sustain life by taking in blood,[4][5] even in an emergency.[6] Witnesses are taught that the use of fractions such as albumin, immunoglobulins and hemophiliac preparations are "not absolutely prohibited" and

      • by Jeng (926980)

        Something like this would probably end up being classified something along the lines of a "hemophiliac preparations" which is a grey area.

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        More for the rest of us i guess. Their choice.

      • by mspohr (589790)

        This Romanian compound appears to contain only salts and this protein from a sea worm. It should be considered to be no different than an ordinary IV solution from the J Witnesses' viewpoint. The hemerythrin protein would be similar to albumin (another protein).

        However, we are dealing with religious beliefs here where people can make up all kinds of crazy stuff so hard to predict.

      • Re:not flaming (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Baloroth (2370816) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @12:39PM (#45292347)

        Artificial blood almost certainly wouldn't count, though, as it isn't technically blood at all: blood in the religious context of Jehovah's Witnesses refers to the stuff flowing through the veins of animals. Basically, if it was never the "life" of an animal it wouldn't count. Of course, I'm not a Jehovah's Witness nor an expert on their theology, so I couldn't say for sure (but I have read the biblical passage the doctrine comes from, and I would say it absolutely doesn't include fake blood in any way).

        • In this case though, the fake blood is manufactured from actual blood. I think you'll find a good many Jehovah's Witnesses will decline this substitute. Now, if you get into the artificial bloods based on strictly man made materials you won't have any issues.

      • The answer is: If it contains blood or any of it's 4 major parts, Witnesses won't accept it. This doesn't seem to contain those things. There is an understanding that once you break a thing down so far, it's no longer blood. Things beyond the 4 major parts are considered a "conscience decision", which means it up to you whether you take it or not.
    • Re:not flaming (Score:5, Insightful)

      by quantumghost (1052586) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @12:10PM (#45292045) Journal

      Would something like this be accepted by groups like Jehovah's Witness' that do not accept blood transfusions?

      That would be a good question. Having worked at a hospital that took over as the regional "bloodless center", I witnessed a wide variety of behaviors from JWs. Some were not very "orthodox" and would take blood, others only after consultation with their elder, others steadfastly refused. Apparently there is a lot of variation amongst individual "churches", but INAJW..

      I'll tell you, a "bloodless" liver transplant is not for the faint of heart. I've been involved with a few transplants that required > 100 units of packed red cells. Doing these with none.....that stressed our skills to the max. And before you think that liver transplants can and therefore should be done bloodless...not all of bloodless ones survived. This would be a nice breakthrough.

      It's interesting that this is still a cellular based concept, having to clone red cells and somehow transferring the hemerythrin. The linked article did not specify much detail.

      • by Amtrak (2430376)

        I'm not trying to cause a flamewar or anything but can someone explain to me why it would be "OK" to accept a new Liver but not Blood from a donor? I just don't see how getting cell type A from donor 1 is any different than getting cell type B. You are still violating "God's Gift of life" by taking cells from another.

        To be clear IANAJW

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          In the Hebrew Scriptures (the "old testament"), God's requirement was to, out of respect for taking the life of an animal and out of respect for the request of the animal's creator, the blood be poured out rather than put to use.

          In the Greek Scriptures (the "new testament"), the holy spirit guided the apostles to continue the prohibition on blood. They put it on the same level as fornication and idolatry, which makes it quite a serious matter.

          Biologically, it doesn't matter whether it's tissue-A or tissue-B

    • by ApplePy (2703131)
      Seems likely. Give this artificial blood enough years to become widely used, and they'll have to find something else to complain about.

      Hopefully it will be something at least as useful.
    • I sincerely hope not. Give Darwin a chance!

    • From what I can tell, yes. If it contains blood or any of it's 4 major parts, Witnesses won't accept it. This doesn't seem to contain those things. There is an understanding that once you break a thing down so far, it's no longer blood.
  • I can't help myself but to notice the similarities between this and the fictional "TruBlood" as I'm sure everyone else will, too. Maybe this is just the precursor to the vamps integrating with our society! (not like the current versions we have in the US serving in Congress)
  • in vampire country make trublood on halloween - good show!

  • salt and worms (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It looks like all the vampire jokes are covered already, so on to the actual subject.

    From the summary and the wiki-link, this is a mixture of saltwater and an oxygen carrier molecule from certain worms. As long as it doesn't trigger any sort of allergy, this should work well for short duration needs (like surgery) and the simplicity of the chemicals suggests that it can bypass the protein marker issues with human blood supplies.

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @12:08PM (#45292005)

    And thus begins the plot of Daybreakers [wikipedia.org].

    The film takes place in a futuristic world overrun by vampires. A vampiric corporation sets out to capture and farm the remaining humans while researching a blood substitute. Lead vampire hematologist Edward Dalton's (Ethan Hawke) work is interrupted by human survivors led by former vampire "Elvis" (Willem Dafoe), who has a cure that can save the human species.

  • PolyHeme (Score:5, Informative)

    by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Thursday October 31, 2013 @12:08PM (#45292011) Homepage Journal

    Have we forgotten about PolyHeme? It isn't truly artificial (it is made from human hemoglobin), but it is not infectious and is not type specific. And it can be stored for a year at room temperature.

    • by Jeng (926980)

      So how many pints of real blood do you need to make a pint PolyHeme, also how expensive is it?

      With purely artificial blood you don't have to worry about how many people are donating blood, you just make more.

    • by 0racle (667029)
      Looks like there may be a few issues [wikipedia.org] with PolyHeme. It would be interesting to see how this new stuff stacks up against the disadvantages of PolyHeme.

      Of course, there's no reason there can't be two (or more) different solutions to the problem, that would probably be beneficial to the patient.
    • by rwise2112 (648849)

      Have we forgotten about PolyHeme? It isn't truly artificial (it is made from human hemoglobin), but it is not infectious and is not type specific. And it can be stored for a year at room temperature.

      Apparently there are many [wikipedia.org].

    • I think "13.2 percent of patients receiving PolyHeme died versus 9.6 percent among the control group" might have something to do with why we forgot about it. The non-matching and non-refrigeration aspects make it interesting for combat and less advanced regions though.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      What is the advantage of artificial blood? If it can't be made in higher volumes than from collecting real blood of the right blood type, or made more cheaply, then it isn't very useful. Though if there's some specific problem that prohibits using someone else's donated blood then it's useful (ie, a very rare blood type, or oversensitive immune reaction). Maybe donated blood isn't very safe in Romania?

  • Brian Lumley wrote about something very similar. Except the worms were vampires.

  • You would thing the best and easiest way would just be to filter/treat cow blood in some way.

  • to make a Dracula joke. It would just be too easy.
  • Crap...now we're stuck with Edward for centuries to come.

  • Strange. I had heard about this concept back when I was a kid and was curious as to why I hadn't heard more about it since then.

    Back when I was in school we used to get a little magazine called "Weekly Reader" and back around 1991-ish I remember them having an article about scientists having created artificial blood. It didn't have any disease fighting capability but could carry oxygen (and was apparently white in color before being used).

  • Sign me up.

  • by rsborg (111459) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @01:28PM (#45292877) Homepage

    Are we getting to where we could create this? IF we can replace blood completely or in part with a substance that has nanites that accomplish some tasks better - perhaps we're ready for SmartBlood.

    From a blog synopsizing the technology[1]:

    SmartBlood is a suspension of nanomachines that can, among its other abilities, instantly clot severe wounds. It has an increased oxygen-carrying capability, four times greater than ordinary human blood. In this, Scalzi is being very conservative. The "respirocytes" designed by Robert Freitas (1998) are cell-sized pressure tanks that can carry thousands of times the oxygen of an equivalent volume of erythrocytes. But perhaps the CDF doesn't possess full Drexlerian diamondoid nano tech.

    [1] http://underbase.livejournal.com/49019.html [livejournal.com]

  • I understand that many people who post here don't share my religious views, but as a person who doesn't believe in accepting blood: This is huge. There have been great strides in bloodless surgery, but an alternative it always great. Thank you to these folks for their continued work

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