In most developed countries safe blood transfusion is taken for granted. But blood grouping is a complex business, and not all blood groups are compatible. In order to check for compatibility, two cross-matching tests are carried out prior to transfusion - but these tests are based on technology that has not changed since the early days of blood transfusions.
Now a consortium called Bloodgen, led by the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol, is nearing the end of a three-year project that aims to use genotyping to improve patient safety and blood transfusion compatibility. The project will include the launch of a CE-marked commercial product Bloodchip which will be sold to Blood Services worldwide. A Research TV film on the project, entitled ‘Compatibility – it’s all in the genes’ – can be seen at http://research-tv.warwick.ac.uk/stories/health/bloodgen/
Currently, the two blood groups are tested for routinely ABO and Rh (Rhesus). However there are 29 different blood group systems Not all blood groups are compatible and mixing incompatible groups can put some people at risk. Bloodchip tests for 9 of these systems, which includes all clinically relevant blood groups.
Lesley Drake | alfa
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