Cryopharm Corp. has announced that its freeze-dried red bloodcells can be rehydrated and returned to the blood streamwithout harming test animals.

Researchers at the Pasadena, Calif., company took red cellsfrom two monkeys, freeze-dried and rehydrated the cells, thenreturned them to the donor animals. A radioactive tag showedthe cells survived for 24 hours at a rate of 84 percent to 90percent, comparable to the survival of fresh red cells reinfusedinto a control animal.

Cryopharm will decide in "the next couple of weeks" whether toapply to the FDA to start clinical testing of the freeze-driedcells, said spokesman Mark Brand.

The privately held company reported in November in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that freeze-dried red blood cells retain important metabolic functionswhen reconstituted and could maintain hemoglobin in itsproper, physiologic states.

Blood banks store cells at 4 degrees centigrade, for a shelf lifeof 35 to 42 days. Cryopharm's freeze-dried cells can be storedat room temperature. -- Roberta Friedman, Ph.D.

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