Scientists Creating New ‘Universal Blood Type’

new studies help researchers in creating a universal blood typeNew research posted in the ACS Journal of the American Chemical Society has announced that scientists have discovered a way to turn blood types A and B, into one neutral blood type that will be compatible for all blood type recipients.

Researchers have been battling with the problem of the different blood types restrictive match requirements limiting patients access to blood transfusions. After several long years of unsuccessful attempts trying to convert blood types A and B into blood type O, they have succeeded.

The scientists found that some enzymes from bacteria can “clip the sugars off red blood cells” which in turn is what gives the blood it’s “type”. So, the researchers tweaked some of these enzymes and were able to improve the enzyme’s ability to remove type-determining sugars. This rendered the blood “antigen-neutral” and increased the likelihood of it being accepted by all patients, regardless of their blood type.

Presently, the blood type of the donor must match the recipient and this has posed problems when blood supplies of specific types run low, which happens often. The only exception to the “must-match” rule is blood type O, which can be given to anybody because it lacks the antigens for both A and B. However, because blood type O is universal, it is also the first type to run low in supply. It is critical that the correct type of blood be matched to the recipients own blood type because if not, antigens in the blood can trigger severe immune reactions that essentially causes the immune system to attack the blood thinking it is a foreign invader.

This new breakthrough is monumental in it’s achievement and could not be possible without the collaborative support of the scientific communities who contributed: the Canadian Blood Services, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Health Canada and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

Source: R&D Mag

Read the full report, here:
Journal of the American Chemical Society

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