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Young blood fights cancer
Date:12/30/2008

d, believing that these cells can cause harmful effects in the recipient.

"However, we found that it was the red blood cells, not the white blood cells, which caused the negative effects," he says. Because red blood cells carry oxygen to the body, transfusions cannot be withheld, but using fresher blood might be better for cancer patients, the professor maintains.

Banking Your Own Blood May Not Be Helpful

While Prof. Ben-Eliyahu urges that further studies need to be done in this potentially life-saving practice, he believes that in most cases of cancer, donor blood might be healthier for the recipient than one's own blood, because such a supply is commonly built up in a bank weeks before an operation. "The age of the blood itself impacts survival. The best recipe for transfusions might be fresh blood from other people. We found no differences between autologous blood and blood from other donors. The latter can be stored for much shorter durations before use."

The idea that transfusions of "older" blood may increase cancer metastasis remains controversial, Prof. Ben-Eliyahu notes. Negative effects might be limited to specific cancers or special circumstances. He suggests that researchers investigate not just any database relating blood transfusions to cancer, but only those that include data in which the transfusion itself was a risk factor in metastasis.

In other words, Prof. Ben-Eliyahu recommends that one should first establish, in a given dataset, that blood transfusion is a risk factor for cancer progression, and only then it will make sense to test whether the storage duration of blood affects survival rates. Alternatively, it is possible that blood transfusion is a risk factor in some types of cancer, but not in others, and it will thus be wise to test whether the storage duration of blood affects survival rates only in these specific types of cancer, he says.

If proven true in human studies, Prof
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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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