New research paves the way for Universal Blood Donorship

Universal Blood Donorship for all blood types

A new research by Canadian researchers, including one of Indian origin, has found a way to change all the donated blood to a single type. This reformed singular type of neutral blood can be given to any patient of any blood group.

universal blood donor

The research work has created a new enzyme that snips off the terminal sugar antigens attached to a blood cell. A blood cell is a type A cell or a type B cell depending on the antigens A or B. After snipping of the antigen, the blood cells are reduced to neutral O types. The O type of blood provides for universal donorship and can be infused into any patient requiring blood.

The study was conducted at the University of British Columbia located in Canada. An Indian, Jayachandran Kizhakkedathu is also a member of the research team. The findings of the research were published in the American Chemical Society journal.

This high powered enzyme was made by employing a new technology by the research team. This new technology is called directed evolution. The directed mutation technology involves insertion of mutations in the genes that provide codes for enzymes. The mutants are selected on the basis of their efficacy for cutting the antigen sugars.

According to the lead author of the study David Kwan, the team was able to find produce a mutant enzyme that broke the bonds between sugars in A and B blood very efficiently.

The new highly powerful enzyme becomes 170 times more effective in just five generations of evolution. The drawback of the research result was that the enzyme was not able to cut off all the antigen sugars though it did separate sugars from the majority of antigens. For the enzyme to be used in clinical settings, it must be able to completely cut-off all the sugars so that the blood has the uniform composition and similar type of blood cells.

The immune system is highly sensitive to the different antigens of the blood groups. An abnormal composition of blood may generate an adverse immune response.

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