Advances in Transfusion Medicine Symposium 2022 November
The bi-annual Advances in Transfusion Medicine Symposium in November 2022 was organised by the Royal College of Pathologists, in its Diamond Jubilee anniversary year, in collaboration with the Serious Hazards of Transfusion (SHOT) UK Haemovigilance scheme, celebrating its Silver Jubilee 25th anniversary. This was a virtual two half-day conference with more than 300 participants each day from medical, nursing and scientific backgrounds with speakers and session chairs from across the UK and internationally.
Evidence-based transfusion practice
As clinical haematology trainees, we particularly engaged with the session dedicated to evidence-based transfusion practice with themes that are familiar to us from liaison referrals. Dr Lara Roberts presented evidence on liver disease and coagulopathy and non-evidenced based practices of transfusing plasma to target coagulation test parameters. Dr Ruchika Goel spoke about building a patient blood management programme in a paediatric setting in the USA. Dr Laura Green summarised the evidence from large trauma trials in hospital and pre-hospital settings and set the scene for the Study of Whole blood In Frontline Trauma (SWIFT) trial.
Dr Shruthi Narayan described the journey that SHOT has been on over the past 25 years including exemplary work in human factors principles, systems thinking and learning from excellence.
SHOT was created in 1996 and has been at the heart of haemovigilance in the UK for more than 25 years.
2022 was a year used to recognise the contribution of everyone that has supported SHOT over the last 25 years and has made it what it is today – our reporters, our team members, our steering group and working expert group members, the MHRA, the UK blood services, our blood donors, the UK transfusion committees and our colleagues across the world.
Thank you to everyone who has been involved with SHOT!
Dr Su Brailsford gave a captivating overview of transfusion transmitted infections over the past 20 years which generated discussion about the use of new technologies and their wider implications in relation to testing.
The future of transfusion
There was a wealth of exciting new ongoing research studies presented in all the sessions. Of particular note, Professor Cedric Ghevaert, introduced the RESTORE trial in which a first human volunteer has been infused in vitro produced red cells. Red blood cells that have been grown in a laboratory have now been transfused into another person in a world first clinical trial.
The manufactured blood cells were grown from stem cells from donors. The red cells were then transfused into volunteers in the RESTORE randomised controlled clinical trial. This was the first time in the world that red blood cells that have been grown in a laboratory have been given to another person as part of a trial into blood transfusion 1.
Professor Baba Inusa spoke about the African Research and Innovative Initiative for Sickle Cell Education (ARISE) programme and a video clip from a train the trainer event in Nigeria powerfully illustrated some of this work 2.
We learnt about the relatively new higher specialist scientist training programme in the UK and how valuable Consultant Clinical Scientists posts can be in transfusion and hospital based services 3. Jo McCullagh, a current trainee, praised her peer support network and this struck a chord with our own experience as being an important element of training.
Percy Oliver Award
The Percy Oliver award was awarded to two recipients this year in the lay category. John James OBE is the current Chief Executive of the Sickle Cell Society and Charlotte Silver who has chronic transfusion dependent anaemia and provides essential lay member input into national transfusion organisations 4. It was wonderful to see their outstanding personal contributions to transfusion recognised through these awards.
A high calibre and stimulating day
We got exactly what we were promised: a high calibre and stimulating day looking at the past, present and future across the breadth of transfusion. We look forward to hearing further updates and the next symposium in 2024.
- RESTORE is a clinical trial initiated by a joint research unit from NHS Blood and Transplant and the University of Bristol called the NIHR Blood and Transplant Research Unit in Red Blood Cell Products. https://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/clinical-trials-unit/current-trials-and-studies/restore/
- ARISE programme: https://www.rcpath.org/international/projects/the-arise-programme.html
- The Royal College of Pathologist: https://www.rcpath.org/trainees/training/training-by-specialty/clinical-and-laboratory-transfusion.html
- The Royal College of Pathology: https://www.rcpath.org/discover-pathology/news/john-james-obe-and-charlotte-silver-win-the-percy-oliver-lane-oliver-memorial-award-2022.html
This report was prepared by