Antifreeze polymer protects cells as they thaw

Thadcha Retneswaran writes about a hot ChemComm article for Chemistry World

Researchers have synthesised a polymer that limits ice crystal growth in frozen red blood cells as they thaw. The polymer is set to pave the way for similar synthetic structures that mimic the properties of natural antifreeze proteins.

Antifreeze proteins have been a hot topic since they were first discovered in Antarctic fish in the 1960s. They have a wide range of potential applications in aerospace, the food industry and in biomedicine, where they are used in cryopreservation.

During cryopreservation, cells and tissues are stored at sub-zero temperatures and thawed before use. However, frozen cells can be damaged as they defrost. When ice melts, it can refreeze into larger crystals that puncture cells from the outside. This process, called recrystallisation, is especially damaging for organs and blood bags, which defrost over a long time. Read the full article in Chemistry World»

Read the original journal article in ChemComm:
Rational, yet simple, design and synthesis of an antifreeze-protein inspired polymer for cellular cryopreservation
Daniel E. Mitchell, Neil R. Cameron and Matthew I. Gibson 
Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, 12977-12980, DOI: 10.1039/C5CC04647E, Communication

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