CLAUS LUNAU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CLAUS LUNAU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Synthetic red blood cells. Computer artwork showing the stages in the production of haemoglobin-based oxygen carriers (HBOCs), or synthetic red blood cells (erythrocytes). The box at left shows the structure of a haemoglobin (Hb) molecule. The molecule is first stabilised to prevent it from breaking into its constituent dimers and then linked to other Hb molecules (2nd box) to form a polymer. This increases the molecular weight of the HBOC and increases its life-span. Finally the polymers are encapsulated in liposomes (third box) to recreate the natural properties of an erythrocyte.
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