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First-ever therapeutic offers hope for improving blood transfusions
Date:6/25/2013

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have developed an unprecedented approach to restore nitric oxide (NO) to donated blood, a breakthrough that could dramatically reduce harmful effects from transfusions.

Jonathan Stamler, MD, and colleagues from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and from Duke University Medical Center describe their findings in the June 24 issue of PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Stamler and his colleagues report that restoring blood levels of NO in animals prior to transfusion improved their tissue blood flow, oxygen delivery, and kidney function.

Patients in the U.S. receive approximately 15 million blood transfusions a year. The procedure is often used to replace blood lost through trauma, but also can supplement shortages in a patient's own ability to produce blood due to cancer and other diseases. Increasingly, medical research publications associate transfusions with harmful consequences including heart attacks, renal failure, and death. A compelling explanation put forward in the literature is that the quantity of NO declines rapidly after donation because it has a short lifespan. Normally, NO dilates blood vessels and allows red blood cells to access tissue and deliver oxygen.

In the blood, NO exists in a bioactive form called S-nitrosohemoglobin (SNO-Hb). The unique process Stamler and team developed to restore SNO-Hb so-called renitrosylation therapy could have significant benefits for millions of patients.

"Inasmuch of the world's supply of banked blood is deficient in SNO-Hb, efforts to restore its levels may hold great therapeutic promise," said Stamler, director, Institute for Transformative Molecular Medicine and the Robert S. and Sylvia K. Reitman Family Foundation Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Innovation, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and University Hospitals (UH)
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Contact: Jessica Studeny
jessica.studeny@case.edu
216-368-4692
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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