November 09, 2001
Press Release, 01-52
Patent For Preserving Blood Issued November 10, 1942
Washingtonian's Invention Made Blood Bank Possible
Dr. Charles Drew, who was born in Washington, D.C., received patent #2,301,710 on November 10, 1942 for a method of preserving human blood. Prior to Dr. Drew's invention, transfusions required a nearly simultaneous exchange of blood from the donor to the patient before the blood became tainted. Dr. Drew discovered that plasma, which has a longer shelf life than blood and is less prone to contamination, could be separated from whole blood and used in transfusions, thus paving the way for the blood bank.
The pioneering blood work done by Dr. Drew saved the lives of thousands of allied service men and women during the Second World War. After the war, Dr. Drew became the founding medical director of the Red Cross Blood Bank in the United States, and was head of blood collection for the U.S. Army and Navy.
Dr. Drew's patent, as well as the more than 6 million patents issued since the first in 1790 and the 2.3 million trademarks registered since 1870, can be found on the Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office website at www.uspto.gov.
Last year USPTO issued 182,223 patents and registered 127,794 trademarks.