Pathogen Reduction Technology Goes Under the Microscope

Pathogen inactivation of platelet concentrate plays an important role in executing safer transfusions, but many complications can arise from this course of treatment, including lower increments after transfusion and the development of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) antibodies that put patients at increased risk for bleeding.


In Monday’s session, “How Pathogen Inactivation of Platelet Concentrates Impacts Patient Outcomes,” speakers examined recent research studies that focus on pathogen-reduction technology (PRT), how PRT might prevent increased bleeding caused by HLA antibodies and how to measure the efficacy of the pathogen reduction steps.

Paula Ypma, MD, explored one such such, the PREPAReS study, which  tested the clinical effectiveness of standard versus pathogen-reduced platelet concentrates in plasma in hemato-oncological patients. The study found that the treated platelets were not inferior when compared to the control group with regard to the percentage of patients with grade 2 or higher bleeding.

The session also highlighted the PRT and its effect on HLA antibodies. Phillip Norris, MD, discussed the development of animal models, which have shown that antibody response can be prevented when a pathogen inactivation step is used. Norris also discussed several studies that help illustrate PRT’s effect on alloimmunization in humans.

With many types of PRT available, it is important to understand these technologies measure their viral and bacterial kill. Pieter van der Meer, PhD, discussed the use of anelloviruses, genetically highly polymorphic viruses that can be used to detect donor-to-recipient transmission. Studies that sought to measure anellovirus transmission were unsuccessful, demonstrating that pathogen inactivation methods have sufficient pathogen kill, but further research will be required to measure this directly.

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