A synthetic blood substitute is something of a holy grail in medical research. Many potential synthetics have been tried--DARPA has even put a blood substitute before the FDA--but most have been disappointingly ineffective. So it's pretty significant that an experimental synthetic blood substitute derived from cow plasma has brought an Australian woman back from the brink of death.
Tamara Coakley arrived at a Melbourne hospital very bad shape. A car accident left her with a damaged spinal cord, collapsed lungs, a fractured skull and various traumatic injuries. It also left her clinging to life with a dangerously low amount of blood in her body, too little to oxygenate her tissues effectively.
Complicating matters further, Coakley's religion dictated that she could not receive blood transfusions (synthetics, however, do not carry such a taboo). So in an 11th hour bid to save her life, a synthetic known as HBOC201--a hemoglobin-based oxygen-carrying synthetic containing a molecule derived from cow plasma--was flown to Australia from the U.S. and 10 units were injected into Coakley's body. Against the odds, she recovered.
That's huge for synthetic blood as a treatment option. Consider: HBOC201 doesn't require cross-matching or cold storage. It can sit on the shelf for up to three years. And it, or something like it, could go a long way toward solving the periodic blood supply problems that plague hospitals around the world, not to mention provide a blood loss solution in places far from hospitals, like in the third world or on battlefields.
Naturally any synthetic blood that might go into wider use needs to undergo seriously rigorous testing that goes far beyond one singular successful case, but Coakley's survival marks a huge leap in the right direction in the search for a viable synthetic blood alternative.
"Coakley’s religion dictated that she could not receive blood transfusions"
Always refreshing to see science triumph over religion. =] Thank God... I mean, Science, that she survived!
Yeah but now she will probably sue the maker as she has this constant uncontrollable urge to moo.
Complicating matters further, Coakley’s religion dictated that she could not receive blood transfusions (synthetics, however, do not carry such a taboo).
A prime example of when a religious practice is stupid and just gets in the way of perfectly good science.
The next thing you know Vampires will want equal rights.
@Onihkage: Ironically enough, it was the very fact that she WAS religious which allowed this testing of HBOC201 to even occur. So I guess we should thank her for her choice in religion! It just depends on how you chose to look at it.
Without religion, she gets another normal blood transfusion and science looses out.
Once again, science riding the coattails of religious people.
Of course, since this is based out of cow blood, I wonder how much is synthetic and how much is simple refined. . .
It's more like science getting to use for something good. It's not like they wouldn't have tested it some point. It's just that they got to test it sooner than thought. Religion has nothing to be thanked for other than moving te frist test time up.
From cow plasma?...Well I'm just glad it worked. Sounds very useful.
good. now we need synthetic limbs and organs. how about synthetic body parts that grant super human strength.
sweet--now the vampires can drink this stuff instead of real people's blood.
And now the Religious sheep shall claim this a true divine gift from god. In his wise judgement to ban blood transfusions a new cure was shown to us lost human souls. What a miracle what a miracle. Oh god all mighty what....
Ps. Kudo`s to all our scientists/researchers and doctors who keep helping and pushing humanity forward for new cures and new treatments....
Derived from cow plasma may not be really the same as synthetic.
The lady is free to believe in what she want's or is that illegal now too?
Sadly blood has killed and injured millions. Millions of people have diseases from past transfusions. Many have died. Everything from hepatitis to AIDS has been transmitted. It is not the safe thing one thinks it may be. While a normal healthy person is interrogated for hours before they can give blood, a junky can give plasma in 15 minutes. So your blood is proven safe by a series of questions? How safe is that?
So next time you need blood. Remember how safe it is.
you could give them equal rights, because now they wouldn't need to kill people for blood. now all the twilight stuff is moot! no more modern vampire thrillers! not...
seriously, though. 1)why would a religion keep you from getting a blood transfer? that's CRAZY! and do you really care when you're DYING?! probably not. you're probably delusional. 2) i wonder if there is a process by which they could essentially freeze-dry other necessary nutrients that could be put in a separate container in the same bloodbag, and released and re-activated like a glowstick. THAT would be an innovation. ESPECIALLY if it could have the same shelflife.
On the other hand, not only have her religious views saved her relationship with her heavenly father, and her clear conscience, they very well may have saved her health as well as her life itself. SCIENCE has proven that patients who opt for bloodless surgery not only have none of the complications and/or side effects of those who choose blood, they recover at least twice as quickly, and avoid the possibility of the dozens of diseases many hospitals and doctors don't want a person to know are very much threatening for no other reason than blood is money, not just life. A unit of blood (donated for free), depending on the type and hospital where it is sold/infused, can cost up to $550, PLUS the extra cost of keeping you in the hospital for a few more days to treat the aforementioned complications at $1500-$2000+ per day.
After researching costs and benefits vs costs and problems, this woman was not crazy at all. People who are not willing to die faithful are not living faithful either. Thank GOD for people who are willing to sacrifice for their beliefs as opposed to those who sell-out for money and guilt. It is the stand up people going the distance who prove that life is not cheap and who give SCIENCE the impetus needed to learn how to better save a life rather than to endanger or even end it.