Work on promising inorganic blood substitute to move forward with $1.5 million grant from NIH

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A patient who is losing large amounts of blood presents a medical emergency, requiring proper blood-typing and immediate access to multiple units of compatible blood.

Health workers must hope that transfusing large amounts of blood doesn't add to the emergency and that the patient has no objection to receiving blood products. Then there are the cost and logistics of maintaining large stocks of blood at the ready.

The solution to these problems may lie in an inorganic compound with the cumbersome name dodecaflouropentane emulsion, or DDFPe, a fluorocarbon-based compound used originally as a contrast medium for taking ultrasound images that University at Buffalo researchers are developing as a blood substitute.

Claes Lundgren, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is principal researcher on a new $1.5 million, four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund work to define further the compound's use for this purpose.

Lundgren holds up a vial containing the milky emulsion that is half the size of a roll of breath mints. "These five milliliters would be adequate to save the life of a child weighing 10-15 kilograms [26-40 pounds] who had lost half his/her blood supply," he said.

Hugh Van Liew, Ph.D., UB professor emeritus of physiology, and Mark Burkard, Ph.D., who worked with Van Liew as his research assistant, did the initial work to establish DDFPe's use as an oxygen transporter. Lundgren, Van Liew, Burkard and Ingvald Tyssebotn, M.D., Ph.D., UB professor of physiology and biophysics, hold the patent on the product's use as a blood substitute.

The key to this product's ability to prevent hemorrhagic shock lies in the capacity of the emulsion's invisible droplets to expand at body temperature into microbubbles small enough to pass through capillaries, and the strong affinity of the microbubbles for oxygen. If sufficie

Contact: Lois Baker
716-645-5000 x1417
University at Buffalo

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