This article reviews the current status of the hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers (HBOC) presently under development. It also introduces the idea that all the HBOCs are not expected to be clinically equivalent so that each solution will locate its clinical niche as the characteristics of the different products are better understood.

– Philippe Van der Linden

This is a review article on hemoglobin based oxygen carriers (HBOC) that will be useful for clinicians to understand the potential uses of these new drugs and for researchers to help orient clinical studies according to the various indications of the different products available. Some indications may be generalized (e.g., the use of HBOCs to decrease transfusion requirements associated with surgery) while others may be specific (e.g., for patients who refuse transfusions on religious grounds). In the case of the former it will be possible to organize randomized controlled trials to demonstrate efficacy, while in the case of the latter this will probably never be possible, given the small number of patients involved. In addition, different products with different characteristics will have different clinical uses.
In summary, the author presents an interesting framework to understand and follow the development of HBOCs.

– Jean-Franois Hardy