Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Artificial Red Blood Cells

PostedJanuary 16, 2011

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Randy Atkins: The flexibility of red blood cells allows them to squeeze into very small spaces. Joe DeSimone, of the University of North Carolina, created mimics that could lead to artificial blood or new tools against cancer.

Joe DeSimone: The ability of having a drug carrier that could depot in the tumor and then get to all the different cells in a solid tumor especially, is one of the major driving forces for where we’re going from here.

Randy Atkins: DeSimone’s chemistry lab first made hydrogel material matching a red blood cells’ softness…then, engineered it into precise structures using a unique molding technology.

Joe DeSimone: We can simply roll out, almost like an ice cube tray on the nanoscale, a film with little templates or cavities that form each particle with the exact same size and shape.

Randy Atkins: Importantly, preliminary tests in animals show the particles stay in the blood longer than most drugs and avoid the liver. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.