Organisation profile

Organisation profile

The research at The 3Bs group is intrinsically interdisciplinary, and it involves the convergence of materials science and chemistry together with cell, molecular biology and in vivo models. At the 3Bs we aim to create advanced, high-performance materials for therapeutic delivery and regenerative medicine using biologically inspired paradigms. 

An important research direction of the group is the development of artificial red blood cells (RBCs) to be used in emergency situations where donor blood is not available. By being fully synthetic, our RBCs substitutes overcome important limitations of donor blood (i.e., limited supply, special storage requirements, short shelf life and risk of disease transmission). Our vision is that artificial RBCs could be stored as a stable dried powder, carried by medics and reconstituted with saline before being administered at the site of injury to compensate for blood loss and increase the likelihood of survival.

Blood Substitutes
Blood transfusions, which mainly rely on the administration of isolated red blood cells (RBCs), are a well-established procedure employed to replenish blood loss during following a traumatic injury, during surgery and for the treatment of diseases such as chronic anemia, hemophilia or for patients undergoing chemotherapy. Unfortunately, blood transfusions have also important limitations which include i) a limited supply with a worldwide acute shortage; ii) the need for typing and matching before it can be transfused due to the RBC membrane antigens, causing fatal delays in emergency situations; iii) their short storage lifetime, which makes it impossible to create large stockpiles to be used when man-made or natural disasters occur (e.g., earthquakes, plane accidents); iv) or the fact that RBCs cannot be sterilized to remove infective agents, such as hepatitis viruses or HIV, and prevent spreading of newly emerging pathogens.
Therefore, research efforts have focused on developing RBC substitutes that circumvent the aforementioned drawbacks. RBCs substitutes have: i) unlimited availability, ii) display compatibility with all blood types, thus avoiding the need for cross matching, iii) long-term shelf-life and iv) lack of disease transmission since they can be prepared in sterile conditions
At The 3Bs, we develop hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers to be used as an “oxygen bridge” when donor blood is not available.


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