Careers in Biomedicine       Fighting Disease

Screening the Blood Supply
"We test the blood today for ten different infectious agents.  They group into the major viruses:  the AIDS virus, HIV; a related virus that causes leukemia called the Human T Leukemia virus, HTLV and several hepatitis viruses.  These tests uh and the other safety measures, have reduced the risk for the major viruses – the hepatitis and HIV virus – to less than 1 per million exposure rates."


Transfusions Help Patients Fight Diseases of the Blood - e.g. Leukemia
When a patient receives a bone marrow transplant [as part of a treatment program for Leukemia], during the time period when their own marrow is destroyed and the new marrow starts to grow and produce cells, we have to transfuse probably 7 to 8 units of red cells, and probably somewhere around 15 to 20 separate transfusions of platelets in order to support the patient."
Blood Centers Provide Many Services Today
Blood banks have become involved in lots of other activities relative to the medical community. Not only do we provide blood and blood components to help physicians save lives, but we are also doing more things now.   We have specialized laboratories that solve problems relative to diagnosis. We provide support to organ transplant programs by matching organ donors with organ recipients.  And some blood centers now have tissue programs that provide bone and skin and other kinds of tissues for treatment of uh trauma patients and other kinds of medical uh activities. "


Ethnically Compatible Blood May Reduce Transfusion Reactions
"Many programs try to collect blood for sickle cell patients from the same ethnic group as the patients, so many programs will attempt to increase recruitment of black or Hispanic donors, in part so that the blood from those ethnic groups which are most compatible with the same types of patients, can be targeted to those patients.  These programs have demonstrated reduced rates of transfusion reactions if they match blood more precisely from ethnic groups that would be needed for patients with sickle cell disease. "

Hemophilia is Treated with Concentrates of Clotting Factors
"[Hemophilia] is  treated with a concentrate of either factor VIII or factor IX, the two plasma proteins that are deficient in the common types of hemophilia, and these raise the levels of those factors to where clots can occur.  The research in blood, and particularly in blood safety, has done a tremendous amount to change the lives of hemophiliacs."
Blood Research is being Driven by a Convergence of Science & Technology
"Today I think we all know that, that science and biomedical research are exploding - in knowledge and the impact of that knowledge on everybody’s lives.  It not only is a field where you feel like you’re doing something that’s contributing, but it’s also a field that is growing.  The resources, as well as the financial and career opportunities in biomedical research are substantial."


Career opportunities in biomedical research are substantial.
— Dr. Michael Busch
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