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Young blood fights cancer
Date:12/30/2008

"New blood" can revitalize a company or a sports team. Recent research by Tel Aviv University finds that young blood does a body good as well, especially when it comes to fighting cancer.

The TAU researchers, led by Prof. Shamgar Ben-Eliyahu from the Department of Psychology's Neuroimmunology Research Unit, discovered that a transfusion of "young" blood blood which has been stored for less than 9 days increased the odds of survival in animals challenged with two types of cancer. This finding, reported in the journal Anesthesiology, may solve an age-old mystery as to why some blood transfusions during cancer-related surgeries may lead to an increased recurrence of cancer and others do not.

"There is anecdotal evidence pointing to the fact that some surgeons really prefer to use younger blood units. They insist on it. Our research shows their reasoning might be sound," says Prof. Ben-Eliyahu, explaining that the oldest blood in a blood bank usually sits on the shelf anywhere from 40 to 42 days before it expires.

Using an animal model, the researchers conducted tests on rats with leukemia and breast cancer. The odds of surviving the cancer, they found, were only compromised if the transfusion blood had been stored for nine or more days.

Can Transfusions Cause More Cancer?

"I don't think this study will or should change the practices of surgeons in hospitals, but it is definitely something that needs to be investigated further in human clinical studies," says Prof. Ben-Eliyahu. "It might have a serious impact on the survival of prostate or colon cancers two cancers that are associated with a lot of bleeding. If our research proves to be true in human trials, it should revolutionize the way we look at transfusion in cancer patients."

The study, Prof. Ben-Eliyahu points out, also led to one other interesting finding. Surgeons commonly transfuse blood from which white blood cells have been remove
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

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