Precision Blood is at the Heart of its Mission

Dna sequencing analysis of blood type

San Diego Blood Bank’s vision is to have an even greater impact on our community’s health through precision medicine, an innovative, patient-centric health approach – bringing greater precision to transfusion medicine through a targeted DNA sequencing analysis of blood type in both blood donors and blood recipients. This precision matching of blood type allows physicians to identify the best transfusion products more accurately for their patients, resulting in fewer complications, immune reactions and better patient outcomes. Providing blood products via this patient-centric approach will usher in a new era of precision transfusion medicine.

Transfusion patients in greatest need include cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, organ and bone marrow transplant patients, and patients with blood disorders (like sickle cell disease or thalassemia) or other conditions requiring frequent transfusions throughout their life.

As an example of the benefits, one current patient has alpha thalassemia major, a severe and life-threatening blood disorder causing hydrops around vital organs. She also has liver damage of unknown etiology and no longer qualifies for a bone marrow transplant (the only cure for alpha thalassemia). She will continue to need transfusions for life and currently receives them at Kaiser San Diego every 3 weeks.

“Kaiser-Permanente is very pleased with San Diego Blood Bank’s Precision Blood Program and sees much benefit to our patients in the expansion of Precision Blood practices – providing them the most compatible blood. Since the start of Precision Blood and genotyping, our patients have been tested and received genotype compatible blood. The main use of genotyping is in our Heme-Onc patients, pediatric patients with thalassemia and sickle cell disease, and those with multiple alloantibodies.

Due to this technology at San Diego Blood Bank, rapid turnaround time, and relatively low cost, we have implemented a policy to genotype all sickle cell disease and thalassemia children and provide them with genotype compatible blood . There is tremendous return in the reduction in morbidity and mortality over the patient’s life span,” Majid Ghassemi, MD, Chief of Service, Pathology, Medical Director of Laboratories, Kaiser-Permanente shared with GB Magazine.

“Through next-generation sequencing, identifying rare donors, and supporting our hospital-based transfusion services, we expect to attract national and international interest in our state-of-the-art Immunohematology Reference Laboratory services – transforming the field of transfusion medicine while further establishing San Diego Blood Bank as a center of excellence,” added Mark Edmunds, MD, Chief Medical Officer, San Diego Blood Bank.

Financial donors are also at the heart of San Diego Blood Bank’s mission – ensuring the critical resources needed to expand its impact. San Diego Blood Bank is thrilled to announce that The Conrad Prebys Foundation awarded a $725,825 grant to provide innovative technology and precision blood testing support. Their grant will significantly increase the capacity to expand San Diego Blood Bank’s inventory of rare blood and precisely match blood transfusions.

With The Conrad Prebys Foundation’s partnership and the support of blood and financial donors, San Diego Blood Bank saves and advances the health of thousands of patients every year.

For more information on ways to give or partner with San Diego Blood Bank, please contact Sherry Serio, Vice President of Development at (619) 400-8188.

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Esteban Villanueva