For decades, scientists have tried unsuccessfully to create an artificial molecule that emulates the oxygen-carrying function of human red blood cells.
The donut-shaped artificial cells, called ErythroMer, are one-fiftieth the size of human red blood cells. A special lining and control system tied to changes in blood Ph allows Erythromer to grab onto oxygen in the lungs and then dispense the oxygen in tissues where it is needed.
Erythromer is freeze dried and reconstituted with water when needed. It can also be stored at room temperature. The formulation makes it ideal for military and civilian trauma personnel.
The safety problems encountered by preceeding blood substitutes still hang over Kalocyte’s development of Erythromer.
“It’s going to be a very challenging regulatory process even if we demonstate that we solved past problems,” said Doctor. “There is a clear memory for the major investment that people put into in the blood substitutes and nothing came from them.”
Moving Erythromer into human clinical trials is still 8-10 years away, said Doctor