Tuesday, April 03, 2007

converting types may end blood shortage

BBC reported today that blood types can be converted
"The method, which makes use of newly discovered enzymes, may help relieve shortages of blood for transfusions. The work, led by the University of Copenhagen, is reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology.
This should have potential to make a large scale impact on everyday needs. The mechanism by which this is done is:

The blood cells of people with group A and B blood contain one of two different sugar molecules - known as antigens - which can trigger an immune system response. People with AB blood have both types of molecule, while those with group O blood have neither.

And they found two bacteria (out of 2500 candidates) that could do this:

The new technique works by using bacterial enzymes [from two bacteria - Elizabethkingia meningosepticum and Bacterioides fragilis] to cut sugar molecules from the surface of red blood cells.
The research still needs to be tested before there is talk of any implementation on the field.

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