Massive blood loss, known as MBL in the medical world, is a major cause of death during cardiac surgery--and an accepted one, because it's the best option we have. Blood transfusions help, but those aren't without complications, either. A new device could cut that step out of the process for some patients by collecting the blood from a surgery, concentrating the blood cells, and routing it intravenously right back to the person on the table.
Anyone who has ever donated blood has learned his or her blood type, such as AB, O negative, etc., which will be matched to a recipient with the same blood type. If blood types do not match, a recipient’s immune system could reject the transfusion, a potentially fatal proposition. But a new method masks the type of donated red blood cells, possibly eliminating the need to test types and making it easier to give and receive blood.
Canadian researchers have turned skin cells into blood cells, a breakthrough that could lead to new cancer therapies while avoiding the controversial use of stem cells.
With the new technique, people who need blood for surgery, cancer treatment or other conditions could have a ready supply of their own blood, made from a patch of skin.
Perhaps ranking behind only bullets and water, blood is one of those things you really don't want to run out of on the battlefield. But better battlefield medicine -- as well as some of the more malicious combat techniques employed by insurgent guerrilla fighters -- mean more soldiers are surviving their injuries, and that puts military blood banks in a bind. But a DARPA program launched in 2008 is coming to fruition, potentially providing medics an endless stream of universally accepted O-negative blood through a process known as blood pharming.