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The perennial blood bank problem of not having enough of the right type of blood may one day be solved by changing the type of blood on hand to the type that is needed.
A first step in that direction was outlined at the recent American Association of Blood Banks meeting in Chicago by Jack Goldstein, PhD, of the New York Blood Center, who presented the results of his group's work in changing type B erythrocytes to type O erythrocytes.
To perform this transformation, α-galactosidase from green coffee beans was used to remove a sugar molecule from the surface of type B cells, turning them into type O cells.
Goldstein said use of this enzyme in various studies dates back to the 1950s. When it was used in previous investigations, however, the membrane of the RBCs was damaged and cell metabolism impaired. "It was a matter of developing the proper
Cowart VS. Green coffee beans may solve a blood bank problem. JAMA. 1982;247(1):12. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320260004002
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