Philippine Relief for 7.2 Earthquake on 10.14.2013

An earthquake with magnitude 7.2 occurred near Tagbilaran, Bohol, Philippines at 00:12:37.20 UTC on Oct 15, 2013.


BloodBanker is donating funds to the American Red Cross on behalf of the victims in Bohol here. Red Cross Philippines Earthquake Relief If you like BloodBanker then please consider donating to help the victims of this earthquake as some awesome contributions to BloodBanker were made by very talented developers from this area.


Bone Marrow Kit connects Potential Donors to Recipients

The marrow donor registry is one of the least represented donor programs in the world. So many cancer patients around the world need marrow transplants but finding a bone marrow donor that matches the marrow of the patient is the hard part.

Unfortunately, only 30% of patients who need a bone marrow transplant have a matching donor in their families while about 7,500 Americans are searching the national registry for anonymous donor.

The scary part is, a growing number of people need bone marrow transplants each year.

One disease that needs a bone marrow transplant is leukemia. Leukemia will strike 44,000 Americans this year, and this includes 3,500 children. This blood cancer will kill about half of the adults and about 700 of the children. The sad news, only 2% of the population are on the national registry.

The challenge for professionals working in marrow donor registries is how to have people sign up for a registry without having to take much of their time.

Good thing there is now an easier and sweat-free way to register in a national bone registry that could connect donors with someone who might need a bone marrow transplant.

“Help Remedies”, the American pharmaceutical company that sells an assortment of single-ingredient over-the-counter medications, launched a new product called “Help, I Want to Save a Life” last March 2012.

“Help, I want to save a life” is an easy-to-use, DIY bone marrow registry kit which can be purchased over the counter and already have plasters and bandages for covering small cuts, as well as cotton swabs. It has partnered with DKMS, the world’s biggest bone marrow donor center, to establish the program.

bone marrow registry kit to connect marrow donors and patients

Bone Marrow registry kit by Help Remedies

How It Works
It’s an easy-to-use bone marrow registry kit, but what makes this extra special?

The answer is simple: in just a cut, you can save lives.

Crazy, huh? This is how it works. For example, you cut yourself from shaving one Monday morning before going to work. Your first step is to get a first-aid kit to help you clean the small cut. In this case, “Help, I want to save a life” kit might just prove helpful.

Help, I Want to Save a Life kit is already complete with sterile swabs and a postage-paid envelope. Just clean the fresh blood cut with cotton swab and then mail the swabs in the envelope to DKMS to begin the donor registration process.

How This Came To Be
The idea for the product started with Graham Douglas, a member of the creative agency Droga5, after his twin brother, who was battling leukemia, was saved by an unknown bone marrow donor.

Douglas had very little success in looking for ways to encourage people to sign up as bone marrow donors. In his teaching class at the Miami Ad School in Brooklyn, Douglas challenged his students to create a smart and simple solution to finding matches for bone marrow donors and recipients. They decided that the best way would be to convince pharma companies to include a bone marrow donation registry kit placed alongside adhesive bandages. They named it “Help, I Want to Save a Life”.

After pitching the idea to every pharma and adhesive bandage company Douglas could think of, he received a note from Help Remedies agreeing about the proposal.

Douglas believes that most people do not register in a bone marrow registry because they think it’s a long, complicated and costly process. But the truth is all it really takes is a few drops of blood. “Help, I want to Save a Life” kits breaks all the misconception. You can now have a bone marrow registration kit of 16 bandages that can stop whatever cuts in any parts of your body in just $4.

Innovative ideas like “Help, I Want to save a life” are effective in bridging the gap between bone marrow donors and recipients. Because of this, ordinary people who get a simple cut can make themselves potential marrow donors without exerting so much effort.

Now that we have a kit that makes bone marrow registration easier and possible, may people make use of this to make themselves an instrument to extend someone’s life.

Who would have thought that a simple bleed can already save lives!

Understanding Leukoreduction

Car accident victims escaping with injury at all is rare, most are likely need to be transfused with blood products. When someone is severely anemic, doctors eventually give red blood cell transfusions. When patients with blood disorders, are always given platelet transfusion. Patients with severe liver disease may need to be transfused with plasma as part of their recovery.

Ever wondered why transfusions are only for whole blood, red blood cells, platelets, plasma transfusions and none are prescribed for white blood cell transfusion?

Because my dear readers, there is no need for it. In fact, white blood cells are removed from whole blood products before transfusion.

Isn’t that part of the blood that kills viruses and bacteria? This may surprise some of you but this is actually a common process called leukoreduction. Leuko what? The name may sound complicated and too technical but it’s actually easy to remember. Leuko which is from leukocytes is another way of calling white blood cells. The word reduction means the state of being reducing- to the point of elimination in this case.

Leukoreduction is when the white blood cells are removed from whole blood. Easy, isn’t it? But why do we need to take away white blood cells from whole blood before transfusion? Isn’t it an equally important component of blood just like red blood cell, platelet and plasma?

The answers to these questions when you read below.

What is Leukoreduction?
Leukoreduction is the process used to filter and remove white blood cells from whole blood before transfusion. White blood cells are removed because they offer no benefit to the recipient but instead carry bacteria and viruses to the patient.

Patients may experience adverse effects when they receive blood that has not been leukoreduced. Among these are fever with chills, alloimmunization, and the transmission of viruses including cytomegalovirus (CMV), a member of the herpesvirus family which can be harmful for low-birth weight infants and to transplant patients.

Benefits of the Procedure
Before we dig a little deeper, let’s first review the respective functions of the different components of blood in the body.

The red blood cells transport oxygen from the lungs to all of the tissues of the body; the plasma serves as the transport system that delivers various materials between the cells; the platelets help clot the blood in the case of an injury; while the white blood cells protect the body from infectious agents.

They all have wonderful functions, right? But let’s say sorry to white blood cells because it has to be removed from its brothers before a transfusion.

White blood cells may hide infectious disease and some pathogens will be more concentrated in WBCs that the rest of the blood components. There’s also a theory that the donor white blood cells may suppress the recipient’s immune system by interacting with it.

What is Leukoreduction

Benefits of Leukoreduction

In a study made by Dr. Neil Blumberg of the University of Rochester, New York, he said that leukoreduction was significantly useful in reducing infections and other morbidities after surgery, with savings of about $1700 – $2000 per unit of blood transfused. In contrast, transfusion of a patient with non-leukoreduced blood resulted in an increase in overall spending of about $4000 – $4500 per patient.

Scientific journal “Transfusion” published an April 2007 meta-analysis by Dr. Blumberg and others that covered 3093 patients who received leukoreduced blood. The meta-analysis revealed that use of leukoreduced blood decreased the frequency of post-transfusion infection by 50%. Moreover, Blumberg and others reported in a previous study that a shift to universal leukoreduction at Strong Memorial Hospital lessened post-transfusion infection by 33-45%.

About 60-70% of blood derivatives used for transfusions are now leukoreduced. Canada and Europe are moving towards using leukoreduced blood as routine practice.

Leukoreduction Infographic

No one ever would want to be in the situation where blood transfusion are needed, just in case there is, I hope that this helped demystified what leukoreduction is.