Money To Further Develop Penn Medical Scientist's
PA) - Technology developed at the University of Pennsylvania
School of Medicine to rapidly determine blood type
for transfusion is one of seven projects recognized
today with funding from BioAdvance, the Biotechnology
Greenhouse of Southeastern PA. The technology's inventor,
Donald L. Siegel, MD, PhD, will receive a $463,000
investment to begin developing the Automated Blood Typing
project's technology for broader use.
BioAdvance was founded by the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania to strengthen the region's commitment
to biomedical research using funds from Pennsylvania's
portion of the national tobacco settlement. The automated
blood typing project will use technologies patented
by the University of Pennsylvania.
"The current technology used to determine
blood type is over 50 years old. The process is time-consuming,
expensive, and prone to human error," said Siegel, an
Associate Professor in the Penn's Department of Pathology
& Laboratory Medicine and Director of the Blood Bank/Transfusion
Medicine Section at the Hospital of the University of
Pennsylvania. "Our research has shown that we can type
blood efficiently and inexpensively through the use
of specially designed antibodies specific for factors
in the blood."
The Automated Blood Typing project will
create a new class of renewable, inexpensive, high quality
blood bank testing reagents that can be used in an automated
blood typing system. Siegel believes that such a system
will drastically reduce blood typing errors and save
lives by more accurately matching blood and organs to
Siegel's proposal was one of 59 applications
submitted by universities and small companies for the
initial round of BioAdvance funding. Three advisory
panels consisting of biotech, pharmaceutical, and venture
capital representatives volunteered to review applications
based on technical merit, commercial potential, and
"The BioAdvance funding will enable us
to make that broad leap from laboratory potential to
medical practice," said Siegel. "It is a great opportunity
that allows the state to invest in its native talents."
The first goal of the Automated Blood
Typing project will be to clone a panel of antibody
reagents specific for clinically-significant red blood
cell antigens. These antibodies will sit atop the surface
of bacteriophages - biological particles which self-replicate
in harmless kinds of bacteria. Siegel's research has
already shown these reagents to be superior to conventional
blood bank reagents and can be used with all currently
available agglutination-based blood typing methods.
The second aim of this proposed project will develop
a novel blood typing platform based on this new generation
of anti-red blood cell antibodies.
"We propose to use the unique DNA sequences
within bacteriophage particles to assay the blood group
type of a red blood cell," said Siegel. "Such a strategy
will offer extraordinary sensitivity and specificity,
enabling us to create an entire antigen profile of a
red blood cell sample in a single reaction vessel."
Siegel's efforts are part of a broader
initiative by the University of Pennsylvania School
of Medicine, in conjunction with Penn's Center for Technology
Transfer, to develop, protect, transfer, and commercialize
intellectual property resulting from the University's
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