Wednesday, May 03, 2000

Funds found for more tests of company's artificial blood

Products based on local researcher's work

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        KETTERING, Ohio — Synthetic Blood International Inc., announced that it has raised the final installment of $5.5 million in private investment to continue its testing of three products: a type of blood substitute, a liquid breathing product, and an implantable glucose sensor for diabetics.

        The company also said this week that it has started acute toxicity studies on its Oxycyte substitute blood product. By year's end, it plans to begin animal studies on Fluorovent, the liquid breathing product, and the glucose sensor.

        All three products are based largely on the work of Dr. Leland Clark, a medical researcher who lives in Clifton and serves as a research consultant for the company.

        Given the sporadic but increasing supply shortfalls reported by blood banks in Cincinnati and nationwide, several organizations have been racing to develop artificial blood.

        Synthetic Blood International officials say their blood substitute is different from HemAssist, a Baxter International Inc. product. Human testing of HemAssist was halted in 1998 after initial results from 100 severely injured trauma patients resulted in more deaths than expected.

        Dr. Clark's breathable liquid was featured in the movie The Abyss, which portrayed deep sea divers breathing his liquid instead of oxygen gas.

        In 1951, while at Children's Hospital Medical Center, Dr. Clark invented the first practical heart-lung machine, which made open-heart surgery possible.

        While headquartered in Kettering, most of the company's product testing has been done in Newport Beach, Calif.


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