Synthetic blood substitute or artificial blood is a replacement for blood. It generally replicates and fulfills some functions of blood and provides an alternative to blood transfusion. The main purpose of artificial blood is transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide across the body. Blood loss due to traumatic injuries and diseases is responsible for thousands of deaths each year. Furthermore, fresh blood can be stored for only 42 hours. The need of a substitute to overcome blood supply shortage and increased awareness and incidence of transfusion transmitted diseases led to the invention of artificial blood substitutes. In the past, several substances such as milk, saline solution, and sheep’s blood were used as blood substitutes. Experimentation over the years led to the invention of new type of blood substitute called perflurochemical in 1966. However, it had few side effects. The artificial blood or blood substitute should possess certain characteristics to be used as replacement. It should be able to transport and release oxygen when required, should be sterile, and have definite shelf life.
Increase in demand for blood transfusion in cases such as blood loss during surgeries, trauma, and anemia led to growth of synthetic blood substitutes. Increase in incidence of disease seeking medical interventions or surgeries, rise in road accidents, military wars and trauma cases, insufficient number of blood donors, and rise in blood related disorders are the major drivers of the synthetic blood substitutes and blood products market. Advent of stem cell therapy has created new opportunities for players in this market. However, instability and lower shelf life of artificial blood products and stringent regulatory approval process are considered major restraints of the synthetic blood substitutes and blood products market.
Based on product type, the synthetic blood substitutes and blood products market has been segmented into perflurocarbon-based products (PFC), hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers, synthetic platelets, recombinant factors, and blood expanders. Commonly used PFCs are Perfluorodecalin and Perflubron. Major advantage of PFCs is easy transportation of oxygen throughout the body. However, decrease in blood platelets count is a major side effect of usage of PFC. Hemoglobin-based blood carriers are preferred over PFCs due to longer shelf life. However, hemoglobin-based blood carriers can cause anaphylactic shock when frequently used in patients.
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In terms of region, the synthetic blood substitutes and blood products market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America is anticipated to hold the largest market share owing to advanced research and development in stem cell therapy.
Key players in the synthetic blood substitutes and blood products market are BioPure, Sangart, Inc., Northfield Laboratories, Dentritech, Inc., HemoBioTech, Inc., Dextro-Sang Corp., Baxter International, FluorO2 Therapeutics, and Alpha Therapeutic Corp.