The Blue Blood That's Saving Lives

Back in the day, treatment was a bigger fear for soldiers than getting shot by the enemy. From the lack of equipment to unsanitary conditions, hospitals were a breeding ground for bacteria. Because of this, thousands died from toxic

horseshoe crabs on beach

shock syndrome, meningitis and typhoid.Now, hospitals are safer than ever with top of the line technology and pristine hygiene. Patients no longer have to be scared to get treated at a hospital. The hygienic conditions are due to the blue blood of the horseshoe crab.In the ocean, this sea critter is faced with many toxins because of bacteria. Mother nature did good by filling their blood with amebocyte cells. These play a vital role is fighting off harmful pathogens. Humans have found a way to benefit from this blue blood.

How does crab blood benefit us?

Back in the 1970s, scientists extracted the amebocyte cells from the crab’s blood and injected them into a rabbit. Within 45 minutes, the crab’s blood detected all the endotoxins from bad bacteria in the rabbit. Since then, crab’s blood has been used to save human lives. Now, the FDA requires that any medical equipment must come in contact with crab’s blood before being used. This ranges from needles to surgical implants.Even though this method has saved many lives, researchers are finding ways to improve it. Currently, the blood is able to detect one part per trillion, but scientists are determined to get the number to a tenth of a trillion.Charles River is a big name in the crab blood industry. He was able to adapt the system so only 5 percent of the blood was needed to have the same effects. Now the system can be used outside of medicine. They are looking to use it for the International Space Station. Only naturally, the space station surface is engulfed in a variety of bacteria. The magic blue blood can keep the space crew healthy allowing them to research life in the solar system.Along with space exploration, Japanese scientists are testing more uses for the blood. They are attempting to create an anti-cancer treatment by isolating the threats.Because so many crabs have to be harvested, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are creating other ways to detect harmful bacteria. One approach uses an electronic chip that will send an alert when in contact with a contaminant. Another way is using liquid crystals.The recent demand for new bacteria detecting technology is due to the fact that the number of horseshoe crabs is rapidly declining. Up to 30 percent of the donor crabs die, and the remaining are so impaired they can no longer mate. A biology professor at Plymouth State thinks that keeping the crabs at a cool temperature during transport would lessen the death rate. The only way to save the crab population and still have this life saving detector is to develop a substitute.It’s truly amazing to learn how far medicine has come throughout time. If you are in need of medical imaging Las Vegas, visit Steinberg Diagnostic. With multiple Las Vegas radiology locations, it is conveniently located for all residents of the valley. For more information about medical imaging Las Vegas, contact 702.732.6000.

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