Location University of Sydney, Kolling Institute - Sydney Medical School

The role of red blood cells in immunology and inflammatory signalling

Our research group is changing how blood is analysed and used in medicine by shifting the focus to red blood cells (RBCs). We are creating powerful diagnostics and therapeutics for a range of inflammatory conditions with an initial focus on cancer, pregnancy related complications, diabetes, and renal failure. Our group is part of a company, Sangui Bio, that was founded to commercialise the discoveries. Since its foundation, Sangui Bio has worked in collaboration with the University of Sydney medical school and the Kolling Institute at Royal North Shore Hospital. In 2014, the founding scientists of Sangui Bio made the discovery that RBCs are a major reservoir of signalling proteins, such as cytokines. We found that intact RBCs bind and release these proteins in a controlled manner over time, and that the protein profile of these cells could be manipulated by adjusting the storage conditions of these cells. Our data on blood samples from healthy people and multiple diseases indicate that RBCs act as a ‘buffer’ that may be involved in homeostasis. We have developed technology and protocols for gentle isolation of RBCs from whole blood and in the isolation of cell secretions from RBCs and RBC components.

We can tailor research programs to match your areas of interest –

  • Biomarker research – multiplex assays such as Luminex
  • Clinical diagnostics – including clinical trial pre-screening
  • Monitoring treatment effects
  • Modulating red blood cell function to alter the immune response
  • Proteomics


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Further Information / Application Enquiries

A/Prof Ben Herbert