Spring at last … David J. Roberts National Health Service Blood and Transplant - Oxford and Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, OX3 9BQ, UK
It has been a season of extreme weather across the world. Perhaps fortunately, if less excitingly, this has not been reflected in events in Transfusion Medicine. Here, we have a line-up of reviews, articles and letters focussing on core themes in transfusion medicine including inter alia red cell antigens and serology and component production, storage and issue. We do have news of the Royal College of Pathologists’ Research Medal competition for young clinicians and laboratory scientists at the first stages of research in pathology, haematology or transfusion medicine (see Box). Unfortunately, this is out of necessity, limited to the United Kingdom but we would hope that similar initiatives occur through professional organisations across the world to encourage those beginning their scientific careers. In this issue we have two interesting reviews. One is from Professor Claudio Napoli and colleagues explaining how therapeutic apheresis, widely provided by transfusion medicine services, is an important tool in the management of patients with cardiac disease, not only for thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, but also for immune disorders affecting the heart and hyperlipidaemias (Pignalosa et al., 2014). Further expansion of these therapeutic services seems likely as technical improvements and additional tools and expertise enhance its application and reach. We would hope that randomised controlled trials will be prioritised to define the precise application of these powerful therapies. We have always encouraged a global view of the practice of transfusion medicine and are pleased to publish two thoughtful and thought provoking articles from the Indian sub-continent. Dr Shyamala outlines evidence of a high prevalence of transfusion-transmitted infection in chronically transfused thalassaemic patients and argues for reconsidering nucleic acid testing to reduce the prevalence of viral infections in blood (Shyamala, 2014). From Pakistan, Professor Zaheer and Dr Waheed from the Safe Blood Transfusion Programme describe strategic initiatives to deliver real improvements in blood safety, not only from the point of view of blood production, but also from blood banks and hospitals, where haemovigilance, good clinical practice, informed and improved by hospital transfusion com-
REFERENCES Pignalosa, O., Infante, B.D. & Napoli, C. (2014) The use of therapeutic apheresis in cardiovascular disease. Transfusion Medicine, 23, 68–78.
mittees and the ever-present need for data collection, traceability and record keeping, are of such importance to improve patient safety (Waheer and Zaheed, 2014). As so often happens, we have a happy coincidence of articles, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Taken together, these two papers show how the scientific and medical advances across the region reveal a new phase of transfusion medicine starting to take place across the world, where the basic supply of problems of blood have been addressed. New technologies are being grasped to enhance the quality and safety of blood products for the benefit of patients. We are always glad to publicise end encourage these developments, but also hope that in the future there will be an increasing role for regional organisations, government links and professional initiatives between and within countries to speed up this work and we would be keen to hear of and discuss these initiatives in our pages. After a long winter this is, indeed, a welcome prospect for spring.
Royal College of Pathologists’ Research Medal Awards The Royal College of Pathologists’ Research Committee is pleased to announce the launch of the 2014 Research Medal Awards. This award is open to trainees who are first author or first joint author on a single original published research paper. Research for the submitted paper must have been undertaken and published whilst the candidate was registered as a trainee. There are separate medals in each discipline in Pathology and so there is a medal for work in Haematology. A gold medal is also given for the best overall work across all the disciplines. Overview on the research Medal Awards and full details of the submission process and eligibility criteria are available on the Royal College of Pathologists’ website http://www.rcpath.org/research/specialty-research-medals.
Shyamala, V. (2014) Transfusion transmitted infections in thalassemics: need for reappraisal of blood screening strategy in India. Transfusion Medicine, 23, 79–88.
Waheed, U. & Zaheer, H.A. (2014) Legislative reforms of the blood transfusion system in Pakistan. Transfusion Medicine, 23, 117–119.
Correspondence to Prof David J. Roberts, Tel : +44 1865 387913, Email: [email protected]
© 2014 The Author Transfusion Medicine © 2014 British Blood Transfusion Society