Assessment of stored red blood cells through lab-on-a-chip technologies for precision transfusion medicine


Transfusion of red blood cells (RBCs) is one of the most valuable and widespread treatments in modern medicine. Lifesaving RBC transfusions are facilitated by the cold storage of RBC units in blood banks worldwide. Currently, RBC storage and subsequent transfusion practices are performed using simplistic workflows. More specifically, most blood banks follow the “first-in-first-out” principle to avoid wastage, whereas most healthcare providers prefer the “last-in-first-out” approach simply favoring chronologically younger RBCs. Neither approach addresses recent advances through -omics showing that stored RBC quality is highly variable depending on donor-, time-, and processing-specific factors. Thus, it is time to rethink our workflows in transfusion medicine taking advantage of novel technologies to perform RBC quality assessment. We imagine a future where lab-on-a-chip technologies utilize novel predictive markers of RBC quality identified by -omics and machine learning to usher in a new era of safer and precise transfusion medicine.

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