SEATTLE--Filtering donated blood to remove cytomegalovirus (CMV)
proved effective in an NIH-funded study from the Fred Hutchinson
Cancer Research Center.
The technique could be a boon to hospitals, which require large
quantities of CMV-negative blood for use in immunosuppressed patients
receiving bone marrow or solid organ transplants and in the small
number of AIDS patients who are CMV negative.
Researchers at the Hutchinson Center and the University of Minnesota,
in collaboration with the Puget Sound Blood Center, University
of Minnesota Blood Banks, and St. Paul American Red Cross, tracked
502 marrow transplant patients over a 4-year period.
Patients were randomized to receive blood transfusions through
a special filter device or blood screened for CMV. The results
showed that filtering blood for the virus was as effective as
screening in preventing CMV infections in these patients.
"This is the first time the blood supply has been rendered
safe from a specific infection (CMV) by filtration," says
lead author Dr. Raleigh Bowden, acting director of the Infectious
Diseases Program at Hutchinson.
The finding is especially important, he said, for blood banks
in areas such as New York where most potential donors have been
exposed to CMV.