Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Platelet Refrigeration Method May Ease Shortages For Transfusions, Researchers Report In Science

Date:
September 12, 2003
Source:
American Association For The Advancement Of Science
Summary:
A new method for treating and chilling blood platelets may prolong their shelf-life by a week or more, helping to ease chronic shortages that endanger patients needing platelet transfusions.

A new method for treating and chilling blood platelets may prolong their shelf-life by a week or more, helping to ease chronic shortages that endanger patients needing platelet transfusions. These findings appear in the 12 September issue of the journal Science, published by AAAS, the science society.

Platelets, the cell fragments in blood that help make clots to stop bleeding, must currently be stored at room temperature for a limit of five days. After this period, the platelets must be thrown away, because they no longer function properly and their risk of bacterial contamination increases sharply.

Shortages in donated platelet supplies can have serious consequences, because patients awaiting platelet transfusions need them urgently. These patients are typically bleeding severely, after major surgeries or accidents, or they may have undergone chemotherapy or bone marrow transplants.

Karin Hoffmeister of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and one of the lead authors of the Science study, expects the need for platelets to increase in the future. Thomas Stossel of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School is the other lead author.

"As the population gets older, we need more and more donations. And the number of younger donors is shrinking. The blood banking industry loses a significant amount of money by throwing these bags of platelets away," Hoffmeister said.

Chilling the platelets helps lengthen their storage period, but these platelets die quickly once they are transfused into the body. Using mice and human platelets in test tubes, Hoffmeister, Stossel, and their colleagues have found a way to extend the lives of chilled platelets after transfusion. If the method works for human patients, it could increase the platelet supply and make this blood component easier to transport.

"This research could ultimately help more patients receive life-saving platelet transfusions. The authors started with an interesting question about human biology, and came up with a technique that could truly benefit society," said Dr. Alan Leshner, CEO of AAAS, the science society, and Executive Publisher of Science.

"Blood banks have long needed ways to preserve the function of refrigerated platelets so that they are suitable for transfusion. This research represents an important step toward that goal," said Katrina Kelner, Science's Deputy Editor for the life sciences.

When platelets are chilled down to around four degrees C, the temperature needed for preserving them beyond five days, it causes certain receptors on their surface to cluster together.

After transfusion, the immune system's cellular vacuum cleaners, the macrophages, detect these clusters and ingest the platelets, destroying them.

Hoffmeister, Stossel, and their colleagues in the United States, Sweden, and Denmark found a way to mask the specific sugar molecule that the macrophages recognize in the receptor cluster.

By adding a single substance to a supply of platelets, the researchers induced a reaction that stacked a different sort of sugar molecule on top of the platelet receptor's tell-tale sugar. This treatment seemed to be effective either before or after the platelets were refrigerated, and allowed transfused platelets to evade detection by the macrophages after up to 12 days of storage.

Twenty-four hours after being transfused into mice, the number of chilled, treated platelets remaining in the blood stream was approximately 30 percent higher than the number of room temperature platelets that remained. In contrast, untreated, chilled platelets diminished rapidly after transfusion, Hoffmeister and her colleagues report.

In test tube experiments with human platelets, the treatment also prevented much of the destruction that macrophages inflicted upon untreated, chilled platelets, according to Hoffmeister.

The treatment consists of adding a sugar compound, called UDP galactose, which certain blood enzymes use to hook sugars together. UDP galactose already exists in human cells and body fluids, and the researchers are optimistic that adding it to platelet supplies will not harm patients receiving transfusions.

Nonetheless, further studies are needed to determine whether this method will be safe and effective in humans.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Association For The Advancement Of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Association For The Advancement Of Science. "Platelet Refrigeration Method May Ease Shortages For Transfusions, Researchers Report In Science." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 September 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030912072658.htm>.
American Association For The Advancement Of Science. (2003, September 12). Platelet Refrigeration Method May Ease Shortages For Transfusions, Researchers Report In Science. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030912072658.htm
American Association For The Advancement Of Science. "Platelet Refrigeration Method May Ease Shortages For Transfusions, Researchers Report In Science." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030912072658.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 18, 2014) Researchers at The National University of Singapore have invented a new microneedle patch that could offer a faster and less painful delivery of drugs such as insulin and painkillers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) The first nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola at a Dallas hospital walked down the stairs of an executive jet into an ambulance at an airport in Frederick, Maryland, on Thursday. Pham will be treated at the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) A Caribbean cruise ship carrying a Dallas health care worker who is being monitored for signs of the Ebola virus is heading back to Texas, US, after being refused permission to dock in Cozumel, Mexico. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) All four suspected Ebola cases admitted to hospitals in Spain on Thursday have tested negative for the deadly virus in a first round of tests, the government said Friday. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins