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Quality Platelets and Improved Blood Availability No Longer a Pipe Dream

Canada: There is good news for patients afflicted by cancer, open heart surgeries, and victims of disaster, bone marrow donees and several others who are in need of blood platelet transfusions. A device, invented by a researcher // at the University of British Columbia's Centre for Blood Research (CBR), is capable of scaling down the loss of transferred platelets, and enhancing the platelet supply in Canada alone, by 20%.

Blood platelets are vital to promote clotting of blood and impede bleeding. The equipment, termed as a Dynamic Light Scattering Platelet Monitor (DLS-PM), is the first of its kind that can effectively gauge the quality of blood platelets- A definite boon considering that there is no method of testing or evaluating the quality of platelets. Guidelines dictate that platelets are required to be used within five days to avert a possible bacterial attack to the platelets. With the help of this novel machine coupled with conducive storage practices, it will be possible to store platelets for 8-14 days after a simple quality test. The device will also assist blood analysts in perfecting the donor and donee blood transfusion match.

The instrument owes its birth to Elisabeth Maurer, a UBC clinical assistant professor of pathology and a Canadian Blood Services scientist, who have ingeniously designed the instrument. Keddie Brown, a fourth-year UBC engineering physics student, has fabricated the prototype. The DLS-PM machine has been patented by the Canadian blood services. According to Maurer, with the help of this device, the storage time for platelets will increase drastically and assist in realizing the best platelet match for a patient within 15 minutes of record time.

Canada is presently able to cater to the platelet demands of Canadian patients but the demand is only going to increase, according to Maurer. It is only a matter of time when the positive impact of a contribution of this genre is felt across the world. Test ing of the device will take place this year after which work will go on to make the product commercially available within a five year time frame.


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