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Profesor de glicómica en la lista de los 10 descubrimientos científicos del 2007

Professor of Glycomics on top 10 list of scientific breakthroughs for 2007

Professor Henrik Clausen from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine has appeared in 4th place on Wired's list of the top 10 ten scientific breakthroughs for 2007. Clausen was nominated for his discovery, which allows blood type A, B and AB neutral to be converted into type O - the blood type that anyone can tolerate during a blood transfusion.

Blood compatibility chart
In addition to donating to the same blood group;
type O blood donors can give to A, B and AB;
blood donors of types A and B can give to AB. (From wikipedia)

During the Autumn of 2007, the American National Institute of Health faced a critical shortage of blood type O. Thanks to Professor Clausen's research, the Institute will, in the near future, be able to deal with this problem and blood type O will be made available in both blood transfusions and the treatment of cancer, leukaemia, and different blood disorders, such as anaemia and sickle cell disease.

The difference between the four blood types is their sugar content. Blood type A contains one type of sugar on the surface of the red blood cells, Blood type B another, while type AB contains both types of sugar. The problem facing patients with blood disorders diseases and those awaiting transfusions is that if a patient with, for example, blood type A, has antibodies for the sugar on Blood type B's blood cells (or the reverse), receiving the wrong blood type can cause their immune system to go haywire and, ultimately, could be deadly for the patient. But type O has no glucose on the surface of the blood cells and that's why everyone can accept it in their blood stream.

Professor Clausen and his colleagues have discovered an enzyme, that can remove the glucose from the A, B and AB blood cells and thereby convert them to type O.

Courtesy: University of Copenhagen

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