Enzymes open new path to universal donor blood

Researchers at DTU and Lund University have discovered enzymes that remove hindrances that stood in the way of developing universal donor blood.

Researchers are close to being able to produce universal blood from group B donors, while there is still work to be done to convert the more complex group A blood.
The AB0 blood group antigens found on the surface of red blood cells are also found on the mucosal layer that lines the surface of the gut. Researchers have harnessed a specialized human gut bacterium and its ability to use these antigens as nutrients to discover and develop two enzyme mixtures that convert group A and B red blood cells into universal donor blood. Graphic: Mathias Jensen, postdoc at DTU.

In Scandinavia, the four main blood types are distributed with approximately 40-45 percent blood type A, the majority of whom are so-called RhD positive and 10-15 percent RhD negative, followed by blood type 0 with about 40 percent, B with about 10 percent and AB with about 5 percent. Red blood cells from blood group 0 are the only type that can be used by all receiving patients regardless of ABO type.

Akkermansia muciniphila is a bacterium found abundantly in the guts of most healthy humans. This bacterium can break down mucus in the gut and produces beneficial compounds such as the short-chain fatty acid propionate, in addition to exerting beneficial effects on body weight and metabolic markers.

Maher Abou Hachem
Professor of Enzyme Biotechnology
DTU - Technical University of Denmark
Mobil: +45-45252732
Martin L. Olsson
Professor of Transfusion Medicine
Lund University
Mobil: +46-705-773207