611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

Health Choice Integrated Care crisis Line

AzCH Nurse Assist Line


611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

AzCH Nurse Assist Line


powered by centersite dot net

Getting Started
Here are some forms to get started. These can be printed and brought with you so that you can pre-fill out some known info ahead of time. More...

Health Sciences
Basic InformationLatest News
Bones Help Black People Keep Facial Aging at BayGene Test Might Someday Gauge Your Heart Attack RiskYour Gut Bacteria Could Affect Your Response to MedsIt's Never Too Late for New Brain CellsSensor-Laden Glove Helps Robotic Hands 'Feel' ObjectsAn Antibiotic Alternative? Using a Virus to Fight BacteriaBrain Sharpens the Hearing of the Blind, Study FindsMind-Reading Tech Could Bring 'Synthetic Speech' to Brain-Damaged PatientsCan Obesity Shrink Your Brain?Will You Get Fat? Genetic Test May TellMagnet 'Zap' to the Brain Might Jumpstart Aging MemoryWhy More Patients Are Surviving an AneurysmIsraeli Team Announces First 3D-Printed Heart Using Human CellsPoverty Could Leave Its Mark on GenesNFL Retirees Help Scientists Develop Early Test for Brain Condition CTEBrain 'Zap' Might Rejuvenate Aging MemoryLab-Grown Blood Vessels Could Be Big Medical AdvanceOnly Spoken Words Processed in Newly Discovered Brain RegionSmall Trial Provides New Hope Against Parkinson's DiseaseInsomnia May Be in Your Genes'Miracle' Young Blood Infusion Treatments Unproven, Potentially Harmful: FDAPossible Parkinson's 'Pandemic' Looms: ReportScience Puzzling Out Differences in Gut Bacteria Around the World'Mind-Reading' AI Turns Thoughts Into Spoken WordsEat What You Want and Still Stay Slim? Thank Your GenesGood News, Bad News on Levodopa for Parkinson's DiseaseNature or Nurture? Twins Study Helps Sort Out Genes' Role in DiseaseBeing Bullied May Alter the Teen BrainFDA Warns Companies on Dangerous, Unapproved Stem Cell TreatmentsGene Tweaking Prevented Obesity in MiceApproach That New Gene Testing Kit With CautionResearch on Almost 2,000 Brains Brings Insight Into Mental IllnessRestoring Hair Growth on Scarred Skin? Mouse Study Could Show the WayParkinson's Gene Therapy Wires New Brain CircuitsNext for Disabling Back Pain? New Discs From Patients' Own CellsSkin 'Glow' Test Might Someday Spot Disease Risk EarlyComputer-Brain Link Helps 'Locked In' People Chat, Surf WebCould a Natural Protein Help Fight Obesity?Blood Test May One Day Help Track Concussion RecoveryThe Bigger the Brain, the Bigger the Tumor Risk?Gene Therapy for Parkinson's Symptoms Shows PromiseCould Same-Sex Couples Have Babies With Shared DNA? Study Hints It's PossibleMany Americans Curious, But Wary, About Gene TestingAHA: New Report Explores Genes Behind Congenital Heart DiseaseScientists Find 500 More Genes That Influence Blood PressureALS Affects the Mind, Not Just the BodyScientists Finally Get Around to Finding Procrastination's Home in the BrainGene 'Editing' in Dog Study Shows Promise for Kids With Muscular DystrophyGut Enzyme Could Help Solve U.S. Blood Shortages'Fat' Mouse Test Failure Yields New Obesity Clue
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Medical Disorders
Mental Disorders
Mental Health Professions

Gut Enzyme Could Help Solve U.S. Blood Shortages

HealthDay News
by By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Aug 21st 2018

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Aug. 21, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- An enzyme found in gut bacteria could convert type A blood into universal type O blood, a scientific feat that would significantly boost blood supplies, a new study suggests.

This enzyme converts A blood into O blood approximately 30 times faster than any enzyme on record, and it appears to do it in a safe and effective manner, said lead researcher Stephen Withers, a professor of biochemistry with the University of British Columbia.

"It looks like it completely converted to O," Withers said. "I'm imagining adding the enzyme to A blood, letting it sit there for 24 hours, and then spin down the red blood cells and wash them and they would be ready to go."

Withers reported his findings this week at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting, in Boston. Such research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

People with A, B and AB blood should receive donations that match their blood type, lest they suffer a severe and potentially fatal immune reaction. However, any of them can receive type O blood.

That's because of antigens located on the surface of everyone's red blood cells, Withers explained. Antigens signal to the immune system whether organisms detected in the body are native cells to be tolerated or foreign invaders to be attacked.

"The O antigen has a certain sugar structure on the surface. A and B have that sugar, but they have one additional sugar attached to it in each case," Withers said. "You've got a base sugar structure on the O blood and there's an additional sugar attached to that to make it A or B."

"The idea is if you could cut that additional sugar off the A or B, you would convert it into O because it would come back to that base structure," Withers said.

The thought of using biochemicals called enzymes to snip off those sugars is not a new one.

"The idea was demonstrated for B blood back in 1982, but the enzymes they had available then were so slow and inefficient it was never going to be a practical approach," Withers said.

But in the intervening decades, new genetic technology has made it easier to look for enzymes that would more effectively and efficiently convert A or B blood to O, Withers said.

He and his colleagues looked at enzymes created by gut bacteria because the sort of sugars that define A and B blood are present on the gut wall. Gut bacteria are known to derive some of their energy from breaking down these sugars, Withers said.

The research team found one enzyme that appears to cut the A-type sugar in a "highly specific" way, he said.

Specificity is important because if the enzyme makes other changes to the cell, it could create an immune reaction in recipients, Withers said.

"We don't seem to see any other sugars cut off by this enzyme. That's really important because we don't want to modify the red blood cell in some way that might compromise it," Withers said. "As far as we can tell, we're only cutting off the A antigen."

The researchers have applied for a patent, and are loath to talk about which specific gut bacteria creates the enzyme until it is approved, he said.

The next step is to use a protein engineering technique called "directed evolution" to simulate speeded-up natural evolution in the bacteria, with the goal of creating the most efficient sugar-removing enzyme, Withers said.

Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer of the American Red Cross, said this sort of innovation, if it proves effective, would help bolster the "constant" need for blood.

"Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood," Young said. "The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations each day to meet the needs of accident victims, people undergoing heart surgery, cancer patients, people with blood disorders and others.

"The approach presented is innovative and of interest," Young said of Withers' technique. "We are hopeful that technology can support in alleviating many of the issues around blood shortages faced by blood collection centers such as Red Cross and others to meet patient needs.

"We follow the progress of innovations as they are validated, prepared for clinical use and as safety and efficacy are established," Young concluded.

More information

The American Red Cross has more about the national blood supply.