During an emergency, having blood on hand for transfusions is critical. But blood needs proper refrigeration, making on the spot care a difficult task. But what if paramedics were equipped with bags of powdered blood cells that could be combined with water and immediately distributed?
It may sound like science fiction, but doctors are working to develop artificial blood cells that could save lives down the line.
“Transfusion medicine is challenged by the limitations arising from storage of red blood cells, which are a living tissue, that must be kept cold, have a shelf-life of only 42 days, and must be used within about four hours of removal from refrigeration,” says Dr. Allan Doctor, a professor of pediatrics, biochemistry, and molecular biophysics at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri.