Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


First Technology to Remove Prions that Cause vCJD From Blood Launched


CE Marking of Pall Filter Heralds a New Era in Transfusion Safety

The risk of receiving blood contaminated with variant Cruetzfeldt-Jakob (vCJD) prions may no longer be a concern for the thousands of people who require a transfusion. Pall Corporation (NYSE: PLL) announced today the Council of Europe (CE) marking of its Leukotrap Affinity Prion Reduction Filter System. It is the first and only technology that removes infectious prions that may be the causative agent of vCJD from red cells, the most commonly transfused blood component. Variant CJD, a fatal neurodegenerative disease, is the human form of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also known as Mad Cow Disease. The CE mark means the new prion reduction filter meets pan-European essential requirements for safety of medical devices.

"The availability of our prion reduction filter is a seminal event heralding a new era in blood safety," says Eric Krasnoff, Chairman and CEO of Pall Corporation. "We are working very closely with health authorities, starting with the nations hardest hit by vCJD, to help protect the safety of the blood supply and prevent the spread of this insidious disease."

The new prion reduction filter will be evaluated by the United Kingdom (UK) National Blood Service and the Irish Blood Transfusion Service with results expected to be available later this year or in early 2006. Of the 40 million red cells units collected annually across the industrialized world, 2.5 million are collected in the UK and 130,000 in Ireland.

Since the first human case of vCJD was identified in the UK in 1994, there has been a total of 172 cases worldwide in Ireland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, the United States (US), Japan and Saudi Arabia, with the vast majority (155) in the UK.

Since vCJD can be asymptomatic for about 10 to 16 years, there is no accurate way to determine how many people could currently be harboring the disease or the magnitude of future cases. Variant CJD is transmitted by eating contaminated beef and may also be transmitted by a contaminated blood transfusion.

Dr. Adrianno Aguzzi of the Institute of Neuropathology, University Hospital of Zurich and one of the pre-eminent prion biologists in the world says, "There have been two probable cases of human-to-human vCJD transmission via blood transfusion. Since there are no clinical signs or symptoms of the disease for many years, a proportion of the UK population could be incubating vCJD and acting as blood donors. The most direct action to reduce the risk of transmission may come from new methods to provide prion protection."

Prion Protection

The Leukotrap Affinity Prion Reduction Filter removes all types of prions in addition to leukocytes (white blood cells) from red blood cells. Prions can be either cell-associated (on white blood cells) or non-cell associated. Studies with the new prion filter show that it removes 99.9 percent of the infectious agent from red cells.

A filtration approach to prion protection offers significant advantages over other potential technologies. Filtration is currently an integral part of standard blood processing and handling in the UK and many other countries. This enables easier and more cost effective implementation of the new prion reduction filter into established good manufacturing practices.

Unlike pathogen inactivation, the new filter does not rely on chemical additives, which could damage or compromise the therapeutic value of a blood transfusion such as the oxygen carrying properties of red cells. A filtration approach also avoids the ethical issues associated with diagnostic testing, such as alerting a blood donor that he or she has an invariably fatal disease. Regardless, there are no available diagnostic tests sensitive enough to identify asymptomatic vCJD infected people.

Measures to Safeguard the Blood Supply

Since vCJD emerged, the UK has taken steps to reduce the risk of food-borne infections from consumption of contaminated bovine products.

In 1999, the UK also instituted universal leukocyte reduction of blood to prevent the transmission of cell-associated vCJD prions. The UK also defers donors who have previously received a blood transfusion. Unfortunately, transfusion recipients are often the people most motivated to donate blood.

Other nations around the globe have implemented safeguards similar to those enacted in the UK including leukocyte reduction and donor deferral. Many nations ban blood donations from people who lived or visited countries where BSE infected cattle have been found. These donor deferral measures have put increased pressures on the availability of adequate supply of blood for transfusion. As the donor population becomes even more limited with each additional residency deferral, it further reduces the potential number of people giving blood and can result in serious blood shortages.

Despite all these safeguards, the risk of vCJD transmission via blood transfusion has not been eliminated. There is no cure for vCJD and treatment is palliative to reduce patient suffering.

Janet Gibbs, Chair of the Human BSE Foundation whose daughter died from vCJD says, "Knowing the devastating effect that vCJD can have, the Human BSE Foundation fully supports any innovations that could potentially save anyone from the suffering we had to endure." She also notes that although we should hope for the best, we must prepare for the worst and take every measure available today to safeguard the blood supply.

Pall Corporation developed the Leukotrap Affinity Prion filter to help blood authorities around the world stop the transmission of prions as part of the Company’s mission to ensure the safety of the global blood supply. The adoption of the new prion reduction filter has the potential to support the global need for adequate supplies of safe blood for the benefit of the public health. Pall is continuing its prion research and development program to apply its technologies to meet the specific requirements of each nation throughout Europe, followed by Canada and the US. The Company is also developing an ante mortem test to detect infectious prions in cattle prior to entering the food supply.

Minna Kane | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

A new look at thyroid diseases

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Sweetening neurotransmitter receptors and other neuronal proteins

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>