Blaze develops technologies that enable integrated and standardized assessments of blood damage, particularly for red blood cells (RBC). The company’s principal product lines include RBC Mechanical Fragilimeter™ systems for testing the mechanical fragility (MF) of red blood cells, and RBC Hemolysis Tester systems which also include the Fragilimeter™ capability. Initial models of these systems are for a wide range of industrial R&D and other research applications, while subsequent lines will target medical applications.
Red blood cells (RBC) are amazing natural machines for delivering oxygen to tissue and sustaining life. Unfortunately, this vital blood component can be easily damaged by medical devices (such as dialyzers, LVADs, or catheters), by pharmaceuticals, by storage (for transfusion), or by disease. In all these areas, the primary test for RBC damage is hemolysis – or cell rupture. Hemolysis is indeed important to measure because of its well-known detrimental effects; however, it fails to detect other mechanical damage (i.e., sub-hemolytic damage) that does not cause immediate cell rupture. Such “hidden” damage nevertheless represents heightened susceptibility for future rupture, posing serious health hazards. In addition, even hemolysis testing itself is affected by the fact that blood varies widely in its susceptibility to hemolysis.
Measuring the mechanical fragility (MF) of RBC is the established means to calibrate hemolysis tests for optimal precision, as it by definition reflects different blood samples’ varying susceptibilities to rupture. MF is also recognized as the most sensitive indicator of mechanical damage to RBC. Unfortunately, previous approaches to measuring this have been multi-step, lengthy, lab-specific procedures not amenable to standardization or to routine industrial or medical use. Blaze is providing the first integrated systems for convenient, standardized, and comprehensive testing of this fundamental cellular property. Such technology can offer enhanced hemocompatibility testing for development of various blood-contacting medical devices and hematological medications, better utilization and management of stored blood, and potentially new diagnostic tests for anemias and other conditions.
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