Before donated blood can be used in a clinical setting, it must go through a rigorous battery of tests to ensure that no diseases are passed between the donor and recipient. However, whereas the risk of transmission of infectious agents is well established and appropriate precautions are routinely taken, establishing whether there is also a possibility of transmission of chronic diseases such as cancer through blood transfusions has been more difficult.
There is some evidence to support the theory that cancers might be transmissible through blood. Even if a tumour is too small to be detected, it will shed millions of cells into the circulation every day that may have the potential to establish new malignancies within the donor or blood recipient. Reports of transmission of cancer cells from needles or surgical instruments demonstrate that tumours cells have the capability to be transplanted to, and develop in, healthy recipients. And there is some data to show that transfused patients are at increased risk of cancers, particularly non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
To test some of these ideas, Gustaf Edgren and colleagues set out to investigate whether there is a history of increased cancer diagnoses among individuals that receive blood transfusions from people who donate blood while unaware of their cancers. Using registry data from Sweden and Denmark , the authors created a database from which they identified a group of “exposed” individuals, who had received donated blood from a person who was diagnosed with cancer less than 5 years after giving blood.
The study population comprised all individuals with no history of malignant disease who had received at least one unit of whole blood, erythrocytes, plasma or platelets between 1968 and 2002. All blood donors who contributed to these transfusions were traced through population and health registers and donors who were subsequently diagnosed with a malignancy within 5 years of the blood donation were deemed to harbour a sub-clinical malignancy at the time of donation. The resulting group of exposed individuals numbered 12 012; 342 082 people who received blood from non-precancerous donors were classed as unexposed.
Recipients of blood from people with a known history of cancer were excluded from the analysis as were those for whom 5 years of follow up was not available. All recipients were followed for cancer occurrence using the Swedish and Danish cancer registries. Any recipients diagnosed with cancer within 6 months of transfusion were excluded.
The researchers identified 978 cases of cancer among all the blood recipients but after statistical analysis they found no excess risk of cancer overall among individuals who had received one or more blood products from a precancerous blood donor. The relative risk was not substantially affected by sex age, calendar period, or number of transfusions. What is more, there was no excess risk when patients who received blood from people with cancers at sites that are thought to have the highest risk of metastasising through blood---the lung, liver, skeleton, and central nervous system---were combined.
An additional finding was that the cancer incidence among the 9377 recipients of blood from donors with a previous diagnosis of cancer who were excluded from the main analysis did not differ from that among recipients of blood from non-cancerous donors. “Since we found no increased cancer risk associated with transfusions from an admittedly limited number of donors with a previous history of cancer, it would seem that long-term cancer survivors might be a fairly safe donor group,” concluded the authors.
Corinne Hall | alfa
Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator
23.02.2018 | University of Turku
Minimising risks of transplants
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Trade Fair News
23.02.2018 | Life Sciences