×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

All Blood Converted to Type O?

ScuttleMonkey posted about 7 years ago | from the pumped-iron dept.

Biotech 206

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."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

206 comments

Damn. (5, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | about 7 years ago | (#18576193)

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.

Synthetic Blood (3, Insightful)

gears6556 (1038624) | about 7 years ago | (#18576403)

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 (5, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | about 7 years ago | (#18576519)

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:Synthetic Blood (5, Interesting)

jimstapleton (999106) | about 7 years ago | (#18576535)

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 (5, Interesting)

Firethorn (177587) | about 7 years ago | (#18576563)

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:Synthetic Blood (2, Informative)

jimstapleton (999106) | about 7 years ago | (#18576625)

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 (3, Informative)

milamber3 (173273) | about 7 years ago | (#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 (0, Troll)

jimstapleton (999106) | about 7 years ago | (#18577103)

No, but I didn't say the marrow wan't necessary.

What I said is that you may not get new blood cells if you use JUST marrow either.

Try reading comprehension, it helps a lot.

Also, while red blood cells are the most important in most transfusions, they are not the only relevant factor.

Re:Synthetic Blood (3, Informative)

Firethorn (177587) | about 7 years ago | (#18577737)

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:Synthetic Blood (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18576849)

You are such a pessimist. Is your blood type B-negative?

What about allergy to the enzyme? (5, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 7 years ago | (#18576863)

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.

Re:What about allergy to the enzyme? (1)

It'sYerMam (762418) | about 7 years ago | (#18577115)

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:What about allergy to the enzyme? (3, Interesting)

Telephone Sanitizer (989116) | about 7 years ago | (#18577433)

In fact, enzymes are just protein chains and allergies are frequently reactions to foreign proteins so it is a very legitimate concern.

Re:Synthetic Blood (3, Informative)

norton_I (64015) | about 7 years ago | (#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 (2, Interesting)

Doctor Memory (6336) | about 7 years ago | (#18576767)

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 (either it didn't do it well, so the stuff stayed in your bloodstream until it was removed, or the body found it extremely easy to filter out, so it didn't stay around long).

Re:Synthetic Blood (2, Informative)

tpjunkie (911544) | about 7 years ago | (#18577509)

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 manner as hemoglobin (which achieves this via an affinity curve that varies with pH) while tending to not be immediately filtered out by the kidneys or induce clotting.

Re:Synthetic Blood (2, Interesting)

Captain Nitpick (16515) | about 7 years ago | (#18577599)

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.

Re:Synthetic Blood (1)

yabos (719499) | about 7 years ago | (#18577317)

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.

Re:Synthetic Blood (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 7 years ago | (#18577473)

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).

Re:Synthetic Blood (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 7 years ago | (#18577695)

The problem is that a blood cell does not have a nucleus and cannot multiply - they are specialized cells...

Re:Damn. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18576589)

So, it's back to aluminium cans for you, then?

Re:Damn. (1)

ehrichweiss (706417) | about 7 years ago | (#18577661)

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 not blood.

individuality (0, Offtopic)

ncohafmuta (577957) | about 7 years ago | (#18576217)

great, next thing you know, they'll want us to all wear the same clothes.

"the individuality thing is over"

-Tony

Re:individuality (2, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 7 years ago | (#18576367)

I take it that you didn't RTFA. The article says nothing about converting the blood in your body to O. The article was all about converted donated, stored blood to type O, the universal donor blood. This breakthrough (if found to be safe and effective) means that type specific donations could be converted and thus increases the supply of available blood. In a shortage now, some patients don't get the blood they need because the only available types are not compatible. This will help mitigate that problem. Of course there will always be a need for type-specific blood but for emergency transfusions, this could save lives.

Re:individuality (1)

UnanimousCoward (9841) | about 7 years ago | (#18577257)

RTFA? WTF??? My original title for the post was "Possibly convert all transfusion blood Type O" so he/she wouldn't have to RTFA...

Uh oh... (5, Funny)

Spudtrooper (1073512) | about 7 years ago | (#18576219)

dem Jap's is kuh-RAZY! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18576451)

Yeah, but apparently according to this theory Rick James is conservative, Elvis Presley was athletic and Marilyn Monroe is cool, controlled, and rational. I'm not thinking this is really going to mess with the accuracy, though they hit the nail on the head with Jackie Chan being unforgiving! I wonder what blood type Chuck Norris has?

Re:dem Jap's is kuh-RAZY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18577253)

Chuck Norris doesn't have blood. Blood has Chuck Norris.

Blood type C (2, Funny)

ThreeDayMonk (673466) | about 7 years ago | (#18577623)

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.

It had to be said (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18576223)

I for one welcome our new A and B antigen free overlords.

Oh yeah, first ever first post for me.

That's great until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18576225)

We find that new disease that only destroys type O blood.

Re:That's great until... (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 7 years ago | (#18576377)

Until we find that new disease that only destroys type O blood.

I wouldn't worry about it. This is only for Type-O transfusions. Since a transfusion doesn't change your blood type (it just supplements your existing plasma until your body can manufacture sufficient replacement quantities), you won't have to worry about those "new diseases". Unless you're normally O-negative, that is...

Damn (0, Redundant)

Lifyre (960576) | about 7 years ago | (#18576229)

It means I can't brag about my blood being the rarest around anymore... My AB- negative blood will be no better than the weak sauce O- blood... Not 1337 Not 1337 at all...

Adolescent humor (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18576287)

Yeah, but can they get out the cooties?

No RH, no problem... for me. (4, Insightful)

el americano (799629) | about 7 years ago | (#18576291)

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? (4, Informative)

arthurh3535 (447288) | about 7 years ago | (#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:O negative, eh? (1)

NeilTheStupidHead (963719) | about 7 years ago | (#18576703)

This is a fantastic benefit for all blood types (except maybe AB+). Persons with Rh -ve blood make up about 15-20% of the population (at least in most European and North American countries, from what I can remember) so giving those people the full benefit of that 15% of donated blood will save many lives. As an AB+ myself, I know my blood is less sought after at donor clinics (to the point where one of the nurses suggested I stick to giving plasma only) so this make my blood more 'viable' as a donation. If they can filter out the Rhesus antigens as well, you've got universal blood. The time saved in testing injured patients alone to make sure that the right type of blood is given will save thousands of lives (I know it only takes a few seconds to do the test, but you've got to collect blood and take it to the lab and that takes a few minutes which some people may not have).

Re:O negative, eh? (2, Informative)

trianglman (1024223) | about 7 years ago | (#18577277)

The time saved in testing injured patients alone to make sure that the right type of blood is given will save thousands of lives (I know it only takes a few seconds to do the test, but you've got to collect blood and take it to the lab and that takes a few minutes which some people may not have).

This is true, but, except in the most extreme of shortages, this isn't an issue. Most hospitals, in an emergency will simply transfuse a person with O+ blood (O- for women of child bearing age). While giving an O- patient O+ blood can have side effects, they are usually minor when it is only one pint, especially compared to imminent death. This most often only introduces new antigens that have to be dealt with on future transfusions and won't kill the patient. In general its important to avoid this, as there can be serious allergic reactions, but if its death or transfusion, a doctor will sign off on an emergency O transfusion. It can have serious repercussions on an unborn fetus, which is why women of a certain age are only given O- in these circumstances.

Credentials: Worked in a hospital blood bank for 3 years and another blood bank later for about the same.

Re:O negative, eh? (2, Insightful)

kenrick (888343) | about 7 years ago | (#18576711)

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).

Re:O negative, eh? (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | about 7 years ago | (#18576897)

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.

Re:O negative, eh? (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | about 7 years ago | (#18577405)

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...

Re:O negative, eh? (1)

sokoban (142301) | about 7 years ago | (#18577615)

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.

Re:O negative, eh? (1)

link-error (143838) | about 7 years ago | (#18577251)

When I donated blood a little while back, they informed me that I am also CMV- which means I can also donate to infants. I had never heard of that before, but I guess its pretty rare to be O- and CMV-.

Of course, there probably aren't as many of those, and they don't need that much blood :)

Re:O negative, eh? (2, Informative)

senrable (930189) | about 7 years ago | (#18577401)

CMV is Cytomegalovirus [wikipedia.org] and is present in 50-85% of adults by the age of 40. In non immunocompromised adults, the virus is latent, but in infants or immunocompromised individuals (organ transplant recipients, chemotherapy patients, pregnant mothers, etc.) it presents a serious risk.

Please donate, you would be surprised at how many infants need blood transfusions (as well as many transplant recipients).

Nanbots (1)

dlhm (739554) | about 7 years ago | (#18576353)

I think 7 did this in an episode years ago.. either way, i'm bummed, now i can't sell my blood for bandwidth.

Bacterial names (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 7 years ago | (#18576363)

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 them, like how spots on the sun are called "sunspots"?

Blood made suitable for all (5, Informative)

sas-dot (873348) | about 7 years ago | (#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)

Re:Blood made suitable for all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18576677)

I find it interesting that the Nature.com article mentioned in the parent has a publication date of April 1......

Blood Banks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18576489)

Damn, there goes my excuse for not giving blood. The blood of a universal receiver (AB+) doesn't have much value to anyone other than a universal receiver (I can take blood from anyone, but only 2-3% of the population actually wants my blood.) The blood bank was only mildly interested in my blood in the past, but now they will be all over me.

Half solution (-1, Flamebait)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | about 7 years ago | (#18576495)

It does not address the RH negative issue, however.
Half solution is not a solution!

Re:Half solution (5, Insightful)

tripa (1070956) | about 7 years ago | (#18576779)

Half solution is not a solution!
It's a full solution to the half problem.
Is half a problem not a problem?

Re:Half solution (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | about 7 years ago | (#18577475)

Half solution is not a solution!

Obviously, you're not familiar with the *nix development model: Solve half the problem, and then pipe the result it to STDOUT.

Duh (4, Informative)

Scott Lockwood (218839) | about 7 years ago | (#18576521)

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.

Re:Duh (1)

jgc7 (910200) | about 7 years ago | (#18577817)

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- (4, Funny)

jlowery (47102) | about 7 years ago | (#18576523)

All bow before me, The Universal Donor!

You are O-... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 years ago | (#18576793)

...you are first against the wall when the cataclysm comes and we need a donor.

Re:You are O-... (1)

rasputin465 (1032646) | about 7 years ago | (#18577227)

you are first against the wall when the cataclysm comes and we need a donor.

No no no, if we kill him, we only get a finite amount from him. Better to keep him sedated in a bed, slowly extract blood and let his body produce more.

Re:You are O-... (1)

slippyblade (962288) | about 7 years ago | (#18577441)

Hmmmm, I'm getting flashbacks to the "blood banks" from the third Blade movie... Drop him into a giant Seal-A-Meal bag, hook up the tubes and vacuum out the air, keep him on a hook in the fridge with a keg tap attached.

Re:I am O- (2, Funny)

kusanagi374 (776658) | about 7 years ago | (#18577373)

Lucky us that can say that. I don't think the AB+ guys would happily say "All bow before me, the Universal Receiver!"

Awesome (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | about 7 years ago | (#18576551)

Does it work on blood supplies like what the Red Cross maintains? A lot more people could donate and make a quick buck.

Re:Awesome (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18576851)

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

That's why it's called a blood donation.

Type O Negative, anyone? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18576609)

Pete Steele's gonna be a happy man, then.

More than ABO and RhD blood groups (5, Informative)

kenrick (888343) | about 7 years ago | (#18576641)

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.

Fuzzy Types (1, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 7 years ago | (#18576721)

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].

Bad News for Vamps (5, Funny)

travdaddy (527149) | about 7 years ago | (#18576733)

Bad news for Vampires, Type A is the tastiest. So much for just going to the blood bank for meals!

T-Negative (1)

SevenHands (984677) | about 7 years ago | (#18576755)

However, can the conversion between T-Negative and Type O be completed?

Re:T-Negative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18577333)

"However, can the conversion between T-Negative and Type O be completed?"

Not until we learn how to transmute copper to iron.

In the Meantime (5, Interesting)

necro81 (917438) | about 7 years ago | (#18576777)

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 (4, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 7 years ago | (#18577119)

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:In the Meantime (2, Informative)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 7 years ago | (#18577345)

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 be used to strip the antigens out and convert the donation to Type O.)

Once, my wife had trouble giving blood and only gave a small (1/2) donation. They said - and this is the part you'll remember - "That's okay, dear. It's enough for a child."

Re:In the Meantime (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 7 years ago | (#18577757)

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). I don't worry about giving it away for a good purpose, I just don't want to waste it (and the time and materials of the RC) because someone is afraid of "offending" me by not letting me donate. (They used to have a station where you could "anonymously" indicate your blood was dangerous, but still save face by "donating")

Good call on the technician for your wife's donation. Don't know if that's actually true (I'm am fully ignornant of the process once the blood leaves my arm), but that should be enough to get just about any parent of a small child back to the center in 2 months. For those without children, you can be as sympathetic as you like but you'll never really feel that kind of comment until you have one.

Re:In the Meantime (1)

DavidTC (10147) | about 7 years ago | (#18577807)

That's something people don't consider. Blood is not just useful to put in people.

Not only can they can strip out the cell and turn it into plasma, but I'm sure this specific research, for example, was done with expired and unneeded donated blood. As is many other useful research.

So even if it doesn't go directly to help someone, it could instead end up in a lab where they invent a way to make blood donation more useful overall, or where they examine how to get the immune system to detect cancerous cells loose in the bloodstream, or who knows what.

Re:In the Meantime (1)

Epi-man (59145) | about 7 years ago | (#18577727)

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 to have a physical since I hadn't been to the doctor in ~5 years, and then was for rotator cuff surgery. My last physical was 10 years prior for work. Anyway, I was recommended to start taking a multi-vitamin with iron supplement. This has brought my ferritin levels back up and am now allowed to donate again. The only reason I take the supplements is so I can donate, I only wish others took donating so seriously.

Re:In the Meantime (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 7 years ago | (#18577199)

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 BSE here too.

they also might want to look through their exclusion lists and allow those with proven false positives to donate again. my aunt got a false positive on the hep c test nearly 15 years ago, and all further tests have repeatedly shown as negative, but she is unable to donate due to that one aberration.

Re:In the Meantime (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 7 years ago | (#18577641)

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, long-term shortage of blood reserves, they were relaxing the donor standards, and I would be allowed to donate. I now do so regularly.

My point? We need the blood. If the banks are forced to loosen donor standards, it's a bad sign.

Thank you for posting those links, hopefully a lot of non-donors will become donors.

Any thought on starting a Slashdot blood drive?

DRM'd blood (3, Funny)

wedgiesaurus (815742) | about 7 years ago | (#18576785)

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!!

...And if the enzymes get into an A/B/AB person? (2, Interesting)

Aelcyx (123258) | about 7 years ago | (#18576921)

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.

Re:...And if the enzymes get into an A/B/AB person (1)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | about 7 years ago | (#18577379)

First, they take the blood out of the body. Next, then strip the markers off. Its kind of hard to get the order mixed up there.

Re:...And if the enzymes get into an A/B/AB person (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18577709)

You've missed the third step -- the one where they put the blood back into somebody else. If you take, say, type A blood, give it enzymes to make it type O, then inject a type A person with that blood -- what's the chance that the enzymes will still be present and will tear apart that person's blood system?

Breakthrough? (2, Insightful)

dj_tla (1048764) | about 7 years ago | (#18577439)

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 assume this would be done as needed), how many lives could it save?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...