Thursday, March 2, 2006

Medicine: Ethicists want fake blood study stopped

Because imagine this: it's not ethical to give people synthetic goo that may or may not help them when you've got real blood lying around that you KNOW will help them. At least, not without their consent.

What's a little strange is the study design in general, which seems to have, somehow, somewhere, skipped a few stages, unless I'm just totally missing the point here. Seems like that you could test synthetic blood on somebody other than people that are getting ready to die and prove clinical efficacy. Being as this is a CNN article and I'm tired, I might be behind the times on Polyheme. Polyheme, according to Wikipedia, is a solution of chemically modified human hemoglobin which simultaneously restores lost blood volume and hemoglobin levels and is designed for rapid, massive infusion.

God knows it'd kick ass if this stuff worked out, and it probably will (sometime in the next 20 years, hopefully sooner than later).

And then all the sinners will have to find something else to do instead of donating blood to make them feel better about their wretched lives.

According to its website:

PolyHeme’s characteristics include:

  • Simultaneously restores lost blood volume and hemoglobin levels
  • Universally compatible (does not require typing or cross-matching before infusion)
  • Immediately available
  • Has not caused transfusion reactions
  • Has extended shelf life in excess of 12 months
  • Is manufactured from human red blood cells using steps to reduce the risk of viral transmission.
Cool shit. And notice that the info linked at Wikipedia is directly from the Northfield Labs site. Wiki-abuse anyone?


Matz said...

It makes sense to test it in trauma situations since that's where it will be used. Testing it on the 40 year old who lost a little to much blood during his colectomy is less likely to reflect real world applications and is likely to see an effect. Every ambulance can't drive around with 2 units of O neg, but hospitals generally have resources for essential transfusions and crossing to minimize reactions. So the question is whether this would be better than the saline people currently get on the ride. The fishy part of the study is the fact that people who get the blood substitute on route continue to get it for 12 hours after arrival without consent, even though regular blood is available. If they just removed the hospital phase of the study or asked for consent then it would be a good study.

Garrett said...

I agree it's more or less fine on the way to the hospital, but the article makes it pretty clear that the folks have no intention of deleting the hospital portion of the study.

Anonymous said...

there is a very large polyheme study being conducted in the emergency med department here at UK...been going for for a few years if i'm not mistaken.

don't know much else about it tho, but i remember hearing a presentation touting serious clinical benefits it has in trauma situations.