Berkeley UC/Project Description


The global demand and importance for cheap, available, and disease free blood substitutes is undisputed. There are currently no red blood cell substitutes approved for clinical use in the US or the UK, and whole blood is almost always in short supply. Underdeveloped countries that need blood the most simply don’t have the infrastructure to support donation and storage, in addition a sizeable fraction of the population are disease carriers.

We have developed an innovative and cheap red blood cell substitute by modifying the E. coli chassis to make it safer to inject into the human bloodstream, and by adding components for oxygen delivery. A modified lipopolysaccharide should significantly (1000-10000x) reduce sepsis activity in the human bloodstream. A hemoglobin mutated to increase OD50 to match that of natural human blood cells after diphosphoglycerase. Heme and cytochrome B5 and B5 reductase complement the hemoglobin. Additional chaperone proteins such as sodC, HPI-katG, map, and AHSP were added to increase hardiness and prolong the half-life of the E. coli in the bloodstream. We are also investigating myoglobin, and potential freeze-drying to preserve E. coli, with OtsA, OtsB, thpA through D (trihelose - ots) (hydroxyectoine).