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Medicine

smitty777's Journal: Artificial Red Blood Cells

There's an interesting article in Technolgy Review that discusses the newest developments in artificial red blood cells. The lastest versions are both the correct shape and biodegradable, and can be used for carrying treatment and markers as well as oxygen. Apparently, these little guys are pretty hard to reproduce artificially: previous attempts result in a spherical shape rather than the double concave shape of the RBC. However, the article describes the process for developing this unique shape:

They expose the spheres to rubbing alcohol, which causes them to deflate and collapse into the dimpled shape of a red blood cell. The hard PLGA particle acts as a mold, around which the researchers can deposit layer after layer of proteins. They crosslink the proteins to get them to hold to the PLGA, then dissolve the rigid inner structure. The result is a soft, flexible protein shell the size and shape of a red blood cell. The researchers can also vary the protein coatings depending, for example adding hemoglobin, which could carry oxygen.
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Artificial Red Blood Cells

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