Respirocytes are an artificial analogue of red blood cells. Tiny sapphire capsules that can absorb oxygen in the lungs and release it in the capillaries. From the capillaries to the lungs, they, in turn, deliver carbon dioxide. Only respirocytes are hundreds of times more effective than ordinary red blood cells - each of them is able to carry much more oxygen molecules. An injection of fifty cubic centimeters of solution is enough to replace the entire volume of human blood (5 liters) in terms of transport efficiency. If you replace one liter of blood with a solution of respirocytes, the subject will be able to forego breathing for up to four hours.

Here's a page on Ray Kurzweil's website talking about them as a link and explaining where these numbers come from:

https://www.kurzweilai.net/respirocytes ( More detailed description of respirocytes: https://foresight.org/Nanomedicine/Respirocytes1.html#Tab2 )

My question is: how can I biologically create the above-mentioned "respirocytes" as another type of red blood cells (completely replacing them)?

That is, is it possible to grow biological analogues of respirocytes by means of certain biological mechanisms ( similar to the formation of bones)?

Yes, most likely, sapphire and diamond can not be used as a building material for respirocytes of biological origin, for a number of reasons. Therefore is it possible to replace sapphire with some other more affordable material, but still able to withstand high pressure (more than 50-70 atmospheres)?

It is also interesting to learn how to create "clottocytes" biologically. Clottocytes, for example, replacing the "native" human platelets achieve bleeding cessation (artificial fast-acting hemostasis) in 1 second, and the bleeding can be quite extensive (physical tissue damage) or small internal. At the same time, the concentration of artificial platelets is 100 times less than natural ones. That is, clottocytes are 10,000 times more effective than the natural analog, since the time of normal thrombogenesis varies from 5 to 17 minutes.

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    $\begingroup$ Biologically, this is a difficult proposition. We've seen evolution do this before... some large organism/mammal needs to go without breathing (and underwater) for hours, and evolution delivers. But it does that with mechanisms that are much simpler and less impressive in the ways that you're shooting for. Also Kurzweil tends to use numbers that are theoretical maximums, which biology rarely attains even when it goes for such. $\endgroup$
    – John O
    Feb 27 '20 at 17:13
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    $\begingroup$ The main problem with this is that biological development is always iterative. That is to say the principle that whatever it is works under has to function adequately at the simplest possible level of development and then refine from there. This concept ONLY works when it's developed perfectly. There's no way I can see that this could develop from a simple organic molecule into the level of complexity described here while being functional the entire time. $\endgroup$ Feb 27 '20 at 18:02
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    $\begingroup$ genetic engineering $\endgroup$
    – user71408
    Feb 27 '20 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ @FrenchThompson how do you plan on having your subjects digest the sapphire they need to make these things? Calcium is fairly reactive, chemically. Corundum is not. I can't think of a biochemical process that could potentially make it either from natural carbon sources in food. $\endgroup$ Feb 27 '20 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ Pleade ask a separate question for the clottocytes, but hey, very nice question on the respirocytes! $\endgroup$ Feb 28 '20 at 11:11

Looking at the two referenced articles: I think they qualify as science fiction, or even fantasy. The proposed respirocytes are gas storage tanks at the nano level, with many atmospheres pressure. One minor flaw in one of them, and the patient might explode!

Having said that, I think that it is possible one could build something better than a red blood cell for oxygen transport. I think with work, one might achieve an order of magnitude improvement ... but I wouldn't expect it until nanotechnology has been in general use for centuries. I expect the big problem to be telling the synthetic when to acquire oxygen and carbon dioxide, and when to release it. I suspect that red blood cells just balance the levels, releasing the $\mathrm{O_2}$ and $\mathrm{CO_2}$ when they have more than the surrounding tissue, and absorbing when they have less. I think this is comparable to osmosis.

Being significantly more efficient would probably require being more aggressive, but this requires two things: a mechanism for knowing which to do, and power to do it. Strangely, I can conceive of a way to work on this. If these nano-machines could receive power through a small electromagnetic field, field generators could be placed on each heart exit to power and configure them. While you might be able to biologically grow the nano-machines, I doubt the field generators could be, especially as they need power too.

If you don't need that much more efficiency, one might just design a molecule like hemoglobin and a molecular construct to hold them, that could serve as an efficient red blood cell replacement. And like a red blood cell, it would not need power. (I suspect there is a lot of inefficiency in the red blood cell because it had to start as a cell.) This could almost certainly be built biologically. It might also have a longer lifespan than the 90 days of a red blood cell.


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