Using a variety of techniques, Sangui Bio is focused on investigating red blood cells (RBCs) and RBC components to identify disease-specific biomarkers. The first step of this process is to create and analyse a comprehensive tissue inventory of signalling proteins by processing blood into a range of fractions (Figure 1). We are also expanding our library of RBC associated signalling proteins by using multiplex array detection systems, which enable the detection of important proteins even at very low concentrations.
Plasma or serum are frequently used in biomarker discovery for the detection of signalling proteins such as cytokines. Our discoveries show that in concentration terms, the plasma or serum component provides a minor part of the signalling involved in inflammation. We are taking the unique position of looking at plasma in conjunction with a variety of red blood cell isolated components (Figure 1). By investigating the RBC lysate, the RBC membranes, or the protein release from intact RBCs or isolated membranes, we have found that RBCs are a major reservoir of more than 80 signalling and inflammatory proteins in blood. Of note, the levels of many of these proteins are higher in RBCs than they are in the plasma (Table 1). In addition, the proteins that we have identified as associated with RBCs have a wide range of functions, from pro-inflammatory, regulating inflammation (anti-inflammatory), hormones, receptors, and enzymes (Table 2).
We are creating a database of the levels of these proteins in RBC and RBC components from healthy individuals to enable an understanding of ‘normal ranges’ that will aid in the development of RBC diagnostics in inflammation and diseases.
Rapid, gentle blood fractionation
Multiplex array analyses
Developing a database of blood component profiles
Partnering with other companies for the development of life sciences research kits