Method that extends blood group typing from basic few to all 29 seen improving transfusion matches & outcomes

If we thought variations on types A,B, and O are the whole story in blood matching – we were wrong.

French scientists have developed a blood typing method they predict will enable more blood banks to adopt so-called “extended blood group typing” – which increases transfusion safety by better matching donors and recipients.

Their report on a new, automated genetic method for determining a broader range of blood types (“Robust, High-Throughput Solution for Blood Group Genotyping”) was published in the July 15 issue of Analytical Chemistry, a journal of the American Chemical Society.

Christophe Marquette, PhD, and colleagues at University of Lyon explain that most blood banks still use a century-old approach to blood typing. It identifies blood group antigens on red blood cells – proteins that must match in donor and recipient to avoid potentially serious transfusion reactions [see American Red Cross blood type chart].

Most blood currently is typed for only a few of the 29 known human blood groups, even though some rare blood groups can affect the outcome of a transfusion.

While commercial technology has existed for extended typing with DNA tests, it has been expensive, difficult to use, and suited more for research labs than high-volume blood centers, the researchers explain. To gain wide adoption, extended blood group typing requires a test that can handle the high volume of blood processed each year – 14 million donations in the United States, for instance, and 20 million in Europe.

The article describes how the team evaluated a new more affordable method – dubbed the HiFi Blood 96 – which types blood with DNA testing in a high-speed automated procedure.

Tests on 293 human blood samples demonstrated the performance and reliability of the new method. The report compares HiFi Blood 96 to existing commercial tests, and discusses improvements that are underway.

Source: American Chemical Society press release, Jul 14, 2010

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