The Latest Discovery That Could Help End Scarcity of Platelets

Earlier this year, the American Red Cross issued an emergency call that they were short of blood platelets and donations were required, desperately. Platelets are the components that induce clotting of blood and helps seal of the wounds without causing any major blood loss.

The University Of Virginia School Of Medicine has been working on platelets research and they have discovered a new remedy for this platelets shortage. This will act as the key that could stop blood loss owing to platelets shortage and these cells can also be the major deciding factor between life and death.


These findings are also believed to offer some greater benefits for the issues relating to prematurity in babies and also open doors to many new diagnosis and treatments for some serious health conditions, like neonatal thrombocytopenia. This condition is known to affect an average of 30% of premature babies, kept under the neonatal intensive care units.

The researchers at UVA have come up with a great discovery that will enable them to manipulate the blood cells and overcome the obstacle that has been preventing them from growing platelets in large quantities. The scientists will also be able to make use of these methods to treat neonatal thrombocytopenia, the condition that lead to complications of prematurity in babies.

One of the researchers in the project and the Managing Director of the Department of Pathology in UVA said, “The platelet supply is still limited, but the demand is rapidly growing.” He also made it very clear that the quantities of platelets they can produce outside the body were very limited and this discovery had led them to scale up the production, thereby overcoming the major roadblock. He also quoted, “Our research is a key to understanding this pathway and is a critical step towards fixing platelet shortage.”

Platelets donation will become easier and this could save a lot of lives in the future to come. Platelets donation involves withdrawal of blood from the donor’s vein and then it’s mixed with an anticoagulant so as to prevent clotting of the blood. The extracted blood will then be involved in the process of platelets separation and the rest of the blood can be injected back to the donor. But this process usually led to the wastage of blood and only very little platelets could be gathered from a unit of blood.

But Goldfarb and his team’s discovery can avoid this blood wastage and synthetically produce platelets that can be donated to the patients. This discovery actually controls the cells called megakaryocytes that are produced by the bone marrow. These cells differ in their functions in adults and infants. Adult megakaryocytes are capable of making platelets in the bone marrow, while those found in infants are very fragile and can’t produce platelets, but they can greatly multiply and produce more megakaryocytes cells.

The ability to manipulate these cells has come as a great asset to the researchers. They can kindle these cells in the premature infants so that more platelets are generated and this can be used to address the neonatal thrombocytopenia issues in babies. The megakaryocytes cells in the bone marrow of the adults can also be worked on so that it produced new cells that will lead to production of more blood platelets.

The results of the research looks very promising and its assured that the future of platelets transfer is going to be made easy.