Since the 1950s, researchers have been trying to mimic the abilities of red blood cells. These flexible discs carry oxygen throughout the body, squeezing through the smallest capillaries to do so. But the physical characteristics of red blood cells, including their doubly concave shape, have made them difficult to copy with precision.
In research published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a group specializing in drug delivery has found a way to create biodegradable, biocompatible particles with the size, shape, and flexibility of red blood cells. The group believes these artificial cells might be particularly effective not just for carrying oxygen but also as therapeutic and imaging agents.