Toronto: Scientists are developing a universal blood product that would do away with the necessity of matching blood groups before transfusion.
Maryam Tabrizian and colleagues from McGill University in Canada note that blood transfusions require a correct match between a donor and the recipient`s blood.
This can be a tricky proposition given that there are 29 different red blood cell types, including the familiar ABO and Rh types, reports the journal Biomacromolecules.
The wrong blood type can provoke serious immune reactions that result in organ failure or death, so scientists have long sought a way to create an all-purpose red blood cell for transfusions that doesn`t rely on costly blood typing, according to a McGill release.
To develop this "universal" red blood cell, the scientists discovered a way to encase living, individual red blood cells within a multilayered polymer shell.
The shell serves as a cloaking device, they found, making the cell invisible to a person`s immune system and able to evade detection and rejection.
Oxygen can still penetrate the polymer shell, however, so the red blood cells can carry on their main business of supplying oxygen to the body.
"The results of this study mark an important step toward the production of universal RBCs," the study states.