"We set out to create a blood substitute that would avoid the problems that plague existing models - availability of hemoglobin, disease risk and costliness. Our solution comes in the form of water-soluble dendrimers, which will be contained in the blood substitute. This substitute will carry oxygen to the vital organs of the body, allowing medics enough time to get the wounded victim proper emergency care."
-Dr. Stephen Kaganove
Some of the newest research in blood substitutes technology is being conducted by the Dendritech Corporation® in Michigan. With the help of a 2 year 750,000 dollar grant from the US Army, researchers hope to use dendrimers as substitute oxygen carriers especially for battlefield resuscitation applications. Researchers are currently evaluating the use of highly fluorinated water soluble nano-polymers. Because dendrimers have been used in drug delivery systems, biocompatibility and stability in the body have already been established. It is hoped that these polymers will improve on the performance of modified hemoglobin and fluorocarbon emulsions. Some of the advantages of dendrimer technology include
The greatest advantage of dendrimer technology is possibly the potential for very cost-effective manufacturing. Because dendrimers are not derived from human or animal sources and manufacturing techniques are relatively simple and thoroughly established, if a dendrimer was identified that was an effective hemoglobin susbtitute the cost of manufacturing would be dramatically less than that of current HBOCs and even transfused blood.
Principal investigator Dr. Stephen Kaganove has outlined the following research plan:
Researchers hope that this will establish proof-of-concept that will allow for optimization and development of a viable oxygen carrier product.
Information about the precise dendrimer being used and the manufacturing techniques could not be disclosed at this time, because Dendritech® is still awaiting patent approval.