Curiosities

SCIENTISTS CREATE ARTIFICIAL RED BLOOD CELLS THAT MAY EVEN BE BETTER THAN REAL ONES

The advancement of science made it possible for several things, previously unimaginable, to be created. Today, we already see several prosthetic limbs and artificial organs being produced and used to improve and restore people’s quality of life. And now, it is the turn of this technology to be used in the blood.

The researchers found a new way to mimic the tissue that carries oxygen . Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body and they are the ones that give blood the red tint.

By combining biological material with polymers that were produced in laboratories, an international team of bioengineers was able to develop a much better red blood cell. It is capable of reproducing everything that those already in our veins do.

But in addition to squeezing and passing through the vascular system, this artificial red blood cell can be modified. To give drugs that kill tumors, transport biosensors and even be equipped with small magnets to be controlled remotely.

Blood cells

The red blood cell is one of the few cells that has no nucleus. Which gives a certain simplicity. And it makes it an attractive target for engineers to work on.

And it also has the reliance on large quantities of clean products to replace the blood lost in the event of accidents. This puts it in high demand to find a replacement.

So there are already several synthetic red blood cells in development. Several count on the elimination of key materials, such as hemoglobin, from human or animal donors. This makes it difficult for them to trigger an immune response.

“Inspired by the pioneering studies above, in which synthetic constructions were created that targeted one or more of the key features of native blood cells. We strive to create a reconstructed modular red blood cell imitation that possesses the complete combined resources of native blood cells,” wrote the researchers. .

That is, the artificial blood cells had to have the right size, shape and flexibility to pass through the narrowest vessels in the body. In addition, they remained intact long enough for them to be useful and still carry an adequate amount of oxygen.

Invention

The team took their invention further. And he thought about modifying his blood cells so that they could exchange various resources that would help cells transport drugs or get closer to a destination.

To achieve their goal they started by coating the donated blood cells with a layer of silica. After that it was painted with polymers of different charges.

After they removed the silica and “guts” from the cell, the polymeric membrane that remained could be covered by a skin of red blood cells. As a result, they had an empty biconcave shell, which could be packed with any biochemical machinery.

Various tests were carried out with laboratory equipment and animals. And they showed that the artificial cells were up to expectations. After four weeks that they were injected into the mice, there was no adverse sign. This was a good sign for artificial cells.

Of course, there is still a long way to go before they can be used in therapies that rely on artificial blood cells. And several tests are also needed to see if any cargo they carry can be released.

But the fact is that transforming body cells into small robots, so that they attack tissues and infections, is a growing strategy among bioengineers.

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