Photo credit: Image Serve
Finally, after over 10 years of research, biological chemist Samuel Danishefsky and his team at Sloane Kettering Institute for Cancer Research has synthesized erythropoietin (EPO), the protein hormone necessary for producing red blood cells. This hormone is key in creating red blood cells from scratch. EPO is an essential component for the body to produce red blood cells, stimulating the process in the bone marrow. The team looked for various ways to synthesize EPO to improve it, and they strung together a chain of amino acids to make the protein and integrated large sugars into the process. The test mice that were injected with this synthesized EPO soon began to produce more red blood cells. Continue reading for a video and more information.
Dvice reports that: “With this technique, the EPO created is the same every time and is more in line with what the body naturally makes on its own. This synthesis may not yet be perfect, though. Other scientists believe that the process of synthesis itself created a final molecule that isn’t correctly folded. Regardless, this is still a scientific breakthrough that could result in a future where drugs can be created without living cells. Combine this with advances in synthetic blood and blood drives may become a thing of the past.”