Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

One Type Fits All

PostedNovember 9, 2003

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Unless doctors have your medical records handy, they can only give you units of Type O blood.  Mix-ups do happen, though, and can cause severe, and frequently fatal, reactions.  All blood types have the "O's" basic structure.  But the others have extra additions, which get attacked by your antibodies if you're given the wrong blood.  Scientists and engineers at the small Massachusetts company ZymeQuest have created a machine that's removing those additions—changing any blood to Type O.  Such converted blood is already being tested in people, with promising early results.  While the technology has great potential for saving lives and money, it will not relieve the need for donors.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.