Science always wonders us through its invention, discoveries, and technologies. One of such wonders is artificial RBCs or synthetic RBCs. Scientists have tried to develop artificial RBCs that have similar properties as those of the original one. In the human body, RBCs carry oxygen from the lungs and supply it to other tissues of the body.
The shape of red blood cells is disk-like and it contains an important protein called hemoglobin which is an iron-containing protein that has a function to bind oxygen. The properties of RBCs include flexibility, transport oxygen, and have long circulation times. RBCs can pass through tiny capillaries only because they are highly flexible. These artificial cells not only carry oxygen but also perform some other tasks like sensing toxins, delivering drugs, and some other tasks.
Artificial RBCs which looks like original RBCs
The researchers made artificial RBCs followed by human RBCs. They coated the donated human RBCs with silica and then covered the silica RBCs with positively and negatively charged polymers. Then they cut the silica pattern of RBCs followed by producing flexible replicas. At the end the team covered the surface of replicas with natural RBCs membrane.
Now the artificial red blood cell is ready which is similar in size, shape, charge, and surface protein to the original one. After developing the cells, researchers transfer it in mice; these artificial RBCs last for 48 hours with no toxic effect. Then researchers loaded these RBCs with hemoglobin, an anticancer drug, and a toxin sensor so that they could determine that RBCs could be used for different other tasks. This technique is very used in the clinical field as it can be used for cancer therapy and toxin biosensing.
The research was published in ACS Nano.