Crafty air carrier

A team led by Boston-area researchers has shown that infusion of oxygen-loaded microparticles could keep the blood of asphyxiated rabbits oxygenated, preventing organ damage and death.1 Although the method could help treat hypoxemia resulting from acute airway obstruction or damage, future studies will have to show that the microparticles are safe and have the biochemical properties of endogenous hemoglobin.

Current strategies for treating hypoxemia include insertion of a breathing tube through the throat and mechanical ventilation. However, those procedures can take several minutes to implement, and even a few minutes of hypoxemia can cause lactic acid buildup (lactic acidosis), which triggers tachycardia, seizures, coma, brain and other organ damage, cardiac arrest or death.

Therapeutics to treat hypoxemia include oxygen-absorbing perfluorocarbons such as perflubron2 as well as human hemoglobin-based carriers such as Sangart Inc.'s MP4OX. MP4OX is an oxygenated, pegylated, hemoglobin-based colloid

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