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.