Making Universal Donor Blood From Other Blood Types | Headline Science
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Making Universal Donor Blood From Other Blood Types | Headline Science


Whether it’s a hurricane, earthquake or
other disaster, those who are affected by crisis usually need four vital things: food,
shelter, water and blood. In particular, O-type blood because it can
be safely given to any patient. Now, scientists say they have identified enzymes
from the human gut that can turn type A and B blood into type O up to 30 times more efficiently
than previously studied enzymes. Type A or B blood has specific sugars on the
outside of its cells. These sugars are recognized by the immune
system, and if they don’t match the type of blood that’s already in an individual,
those cells are destroyed. Because these sugars are recognized by the
immune system, they’re called antigens. Type AB blood has both antigens, and Type
O blood has none. The researchers presented these research findings
at the recent American Chemical Society National Meeting in Boston. Stephen Withers, from the University of British
Columbia has been studying enzymes that remove A or B antigens from red blood cells. If those antigens can be removed, then type
A or B can be converted to type O blood. To find the enzymes more quickly, Withers
and a colleague at his institution used a technique called metagenomics, which allows
scientists to sample the genes of millions of microorganisms without the need for individual
cultures. Then, researchers used E. coli to select for
DNA that codes for enzymes that can cleave sugar residues. Withers’ team found candidate enzymes in
the human gut microbiome. They chose this source because the gut wall
is lined with glycosylated proteins called mucins that display a number of sugars, some of which are
the A and B antigens. Certain bacteria in the gut are able to cut
the sugars off the mucins, which gives them a food source. The researchers honed in on the enzymes the
bacteria use to pluck the sugars off and found a new family of enzymes that are 30 times
more effective at removing red blood cell sugars than previously reported candidates. Withers is working with colleagues at the
Centre for Blood Research at UBC to validate these enzymes and test them on a larger scale
for potential clinical testing.

10 thoughts on “Making Universal Donor Blood From Other Blood Types | Headline Science

  1. Ok, but what makes a blood type positive or negative? Cause is it not the O negative that's the universal donor not the positive?

  2. Its a gigantic advance! But, we have another systems on the blood cells, the ABO system is (A,a, B,b), what is in the study. But in second line of more reagent systems we have the Rhesus (D,d, E, e), and the system Kell, Duffy…. etc. etc. etc.

    The most imunnogenic is the ABO, what is a great advance and revolution on the field. But, we have a lot of more studies in the other systems to assure a better potential and a real security of transfusion of a blood modified.

    To finish, i want to send congragulations to all the cientists and the people involved in the study and all the process. You rocks people! Recieve hugs from Brazil! S2

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