Whole blood for transfusion: development work supports operational feasibility

Thursday, February 10, 2022 Dr. Geraldine Walsh

There is increasing evidence that whole blood may be the best fluid to replace what’s being lost in actively bleeding patients. To support the (re)-introduction of this product to the Canadian Blood Services formulary, the product and process development group together with discovery research colleagues have been working to understand the best way to produce and store leukoreduced whole blood that could be transfused to trauma patients.

A study from this group, recently summarized in a Research Unit, shows that a longer hold time before filtering whole blood to remove white blood cells (called “leukoreduction”) may not significantly impact product quality. The study was published in the journal Transfusion, and the lead author was Canadian Blood Services senior scientist, Dr. Peter Schubert. Much of the work took place at Canadian Blood Services’ Blood4Research facility in Vancouver, BC. The findings provide evidence to extend the maximum hold time between blood collection and leukoreduction from 8 hours to 24 hours. This additional time allows greater operational flexibility for blood operators to produce this product – something that is especially important in Canada where distances between collection and production sites can be great and getting blood from one to the other in an 8-hour window is not always operationally feasible.

Want to learn more? Read the Research Unit: Whole blood: longer holding times before leukoreduction may be a safe to explore option.

The results of this study will support work by supply chain to validate this product and process. It will also support Canadian Blood Services’ planned submission to the regulator, Health Canada, to receive a license amendment to obtain approval to produce whole blood for transfusion.

DYK: Having a whole blood product for transfusion available in Canada is of particular interest to the Canadian Armed Forces who deal with trauma patients in often austere environments? Learn more about CAF’s unique needs in the story: Blood in war zones: Canada’s contributions and ongoing support for soldiers who need transfusions.


Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact.

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.


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