Athens, Greece (July 4, 2005) -- Safety in transfusion medicine is an ongoing challenge to blood services worldwide as new threats, such as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), emerge. An update on the latest measures to protect the public from the human form of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), commonly called Mad Cow Disease, and minimize risk of transmission through blood transfusion was presented here at the International Society of Blood Transfusion Congress. At the "Safety in Transfusion Medicine" symposium, Pall Corporation (NYSE: PLL) released new research results further validating the performance of its Leukotrap Affinity Prion Reduction Filter System, which was CE marked with a 99.9 percent prion removal efficiency in May 2005. It is the first technology that reduces infectious prions from red cells, the most widely transfused blood component. Abnormal prions are believed to be the causative agent of vCJD.
The status of evaluations of the new filter system by blood authorities in Europe were also reported. Both the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) and the English National Blood Service (NBS) are currently evaluating the filter system for integration into their respective practices to safeguard the blood supply from vCJD. Final results of these evaluations are expected by end 2005 or early 2006.
According to Dr. William Murphy, Medical Director of the IBTS, which just completed the first phase of its evaluation, "IBTS has completed laboratory evaluation of the filter; handling of the system is very straight forward and we are planning clinical studies in the coming months."
Dr. Roger Eglin, Head of the National Transfusion Microbiology Laboratory of the NBS, discussed the incidence and risk of vCJD transmission by blood transfusion. He reviewed the role of new technologies to reduce the risk of transfusion transmission of prions, noting that a potential impending approach is filtration.
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