Science

Blood transfusions just got a new update

By Enozia Vakil , Jun 26, 2013 08:03 PM EDT
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Blood transfusions may just get better, thanks to a new study conducted by the researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

This new breakthrough in blood transfusion may reduce the harmful effects associated with transfusions to a dramatic level, the researchers claim.

By restoring the NO (nitric oxide) levels in animals before the transfusion, the researchers were able to improve kidney function, tissue blood flow and oxygen delivery, something which was not really achievable previously during blood transfusions.

With around 15 million blood transfusions being carried out every year in the US alone, a major breakthrough like this would prove to encompass wide-reaching benefits.

Blood transfusions, which are required as a major part during trauma cases, often face a shortcoming- the decline in the quantity of NO after the transfusion, mostly because NO has a short lifespan.

NO is also known to play an important role in the dilation of blood vessels and delivery of oxygen, which is why a lack of this important substance during blood transfusions could pose a major problem.

Thanks to this new study, this may not be the situation anymore. Together with his colleagues, Jonathan Stamler, an MD, developed a new process (named renitrosylation) to restore SNO-Hb ( a bioactive form of NO, also known as nitrosohemoglobin), which could benefit millions of patients worldwide.

"Inasmuch of the world's supply of banked blood is deficient in SNO-Hb, efforts to restore its levels may hold great therapeutic promise," Stamler explained. "One important aspect of our study is the insight that knowledge of banked blood's SNO-Hb status may be used to judge the efficacy of a transfusion."

Animal studies carried out in co-ordination with this study revealed how restored NO levels could help prevent many serious health conditions, including kidney damage, stroke, heart attacks and more.

The researchers also predict a new promise for patients suffering from sickle cell anemia.

The success of this new procedure would be based on the percentage (75 percent minimum) of banked red blood cells that would be circulating in the recipient's body following 24 hours of administration, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The study is now published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

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