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Warwick blood freezing technology shortlisted for national award

Matthew Gibson10 April 2014

Blood freezing technology, developed at Warwick, has been shortlisted in a Royal Society of Chemistry competition to find promising emerging technologies. Warwick Ventures is working with the researchers to identify commercial opportunities for the technique.

Developed by Matthew Gibson, in the University’s Department of Chemistry, the technique uses polyvinyl alcohol to inhibit the growth of ice crystals which would otherwise damage blood cells during freezing and make them unusable.

Unlike other cryopreservation technologies, this system does not require the addition of large amounts of solvent, which must then be removed before the blood can be used. That means the blood can be defrosted and put to use rapidly.

The technique has now been shortlisted in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition, which aims to identify the latest technologies in chemical sciences that have significant potential impact for the UK economy.

Winning businesses or researchers will receive one-to-one mentoring from multinational companies, as well as up to £10,000 in prize money.

Warwick Ventures has been working with the research team to find commercial partners with the expertise to develop the technique into a clinical application.

“This is a really promising technology that could bring enormous benefits to patients requiring blood transfusions or cellular therapies,” says Dr Laura Lane from Warwick Ventures, the University of Warwick’s Technology Commercialisation Company. “Being shortlisted in the RSC Emerging Technologies competition is a great opportunity for the team to demonstrate their work to a wider audience.”

Shortlisted competitors will be presenting their technologies to the RSC’s judging panel at the competition final, to be held in London on 25 June 2014. For more information, visit the RSC website.

Dr Gibson’s research was recently published in the journal Nature Communications. For more information, view the University of Warwick’s press release.