Clinical Center News
March 2016

Department of Transfusion Medicine improves safety of platelet transfusions

Betsy Furlong, Dr. Mike DeVan, Sherry Sheldon and Dr. Bill Flegel gather near the UV Illuminator, the main hardware component of the INTERCEPT Blood System.
Betsy Furlong, Dr. Mike DeVan, Sherry Sheldon and Dr. Bill Flegel gather near the UV Illuminator, the main hardware component of the INTERCEPT Blood System.
 
Betsy Furlong inspects the UV Illuminator cassette.
Betsy Furlong inspects the UV Illuminator cassette used to irradiate platelet apheresis bags containing photoreactive Amotosoralen with high intensity UVA light as part of the INTERCEPT Blood System for pathogen reduction and lymphocyte inactivation.
 

On Jan. 14, 2016, the Clinical Center Department of Transfusion Medicine (DTM) prepared the first pathogen reduced apheresis platelets at NIH and transfused them to a patient in the Intensive Care Unit. The CC became the first hospital in the U.S. to collect, prepare and transfuse pathogen reduced apheresis platelets.

Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2014, the INTERCEPT Blood System for Platelets is used to inactivate a broad spectrum of viruses, bacteria and parasites as well as contaminating donor T-cells, a type of white blood cell, in platelet components. Blood components are very safe and are tested for various pathogens like HIV and the hepatitis B and C viruses. The INTERCEPT system may inactivate other microorganisms, such as the Zika virus, parasites and bacteria that can be difficult to detect.

The process uses amotosalen HCl (a light-activated compound) and ultraviolet (UVA) illumination to photochemically treat platelet components. This treatment procedure also inactivates donor T-cells to lower the risk of transfusion-associated graft-versus-host disease, eliminating the need to expose the platelets to radiation previously performed for the same purpose.

The DTM INTERCEPT implementation team has been working since March 2015 to bring pathogen reduced apheresis platelets to CC patients. This has been a true team effort, touching almost every section within the department. Apheresis platelets are collected at DTM's satellite facility on Fishers Lane in Rockville, part of the Blood Services Section; primary production steps are performed in the Laboratory Services Section; and platelets are counted in the Cell Processing Section for quality control purposes. Others involved included DTM's Quality Assurance group and IT Support staff.

"Not only have we implemented the INTERCEPT pathogen reduction system, but we've simultaneously introduced the use of Platelet Additive Solution (PAS) as part of the collection process," said Dr. Bill Ward, deputy chief of DTM. PAS is a buffered salt solution that replaces approximately 65% of the plasma in the apheresis platelet product. PAS products have recently been approved for use in the U.S. Research suggests that PAS may reduce certain types of transfusion reactions that may be seen in some patients, and improve platelet quality.

In 2015 alone, more than 3,500 apheresis platelet transfusions were administered to over 300 CC patients. The majority of apheresis platelet transfusions are to treat patients undergoing cancer therapy or organ and tissue transplants. The implementation of the pathogen reduction system and the collection of apheresis platelets in PAS further improve the safety of platelet transfusions for patients.

Stories
Senior leaders at NIH cut a ribbon opening two hospice suites at the Clinical Center
Laptop with stethoscope nearby
Patient Photography Studio
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the NIH sties in a chair to the left. Barbra Streisand holds a microphone and sits in a chair to the right – speaks to the audience
Dr. James Gilman stands with Alba C. Murphy as they smile and hold a certificate
A paper cutout of a hand shape with a stick on the end. Text on the paper says I [heart] clean hands
Patient with Degos disease addresses symposium attendees
CDC and NIH representatives stand in a special isolation patient room at the NIH Clinical Center
Eight young men and women line up holding graduation certificates in Lipsett Auditorium
A four panel exhibit with photos, text and artifacts on NIH medical pioneers Christian Anfinsen and Michael Potter
NIH Clinical Center volunteer Chaoyang Wang
Woman with scientific cap on her head plays a touch game
Doctors at NIH speak in a lecture hall during Nurses Week
NIH Clinical Center doctor receives award
Children participate in Take Your Child to Work Day Hematology Lab
Leslie Wehrlen holds a plaque.
Sixteen women, graduates of the program and departmental leaders, gather for a photo
Pius Aiyelawo swearing into the Senior Executive Service with Dr. Lawrence Tabak
Jackson Taylor (right) and his donor Sean McLaughlin (left)
Dr. Thomas Burklow
Two care providers look at a computer
Child reading a book
NIH employee, Ricky Day, trys the prototype device
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams tours Clinical Center with CC CEO Dr. James K. Gilman
First Lady Melania Trump gets together with five children to pose for a picture
Patient and doctor
Harold Varmus, Robert Frasca, Mark Hatfield and John Gallin at the groundbreaking of the hospital's new addition
Black and White photo of the first meeting of the National Advisory Eye Council (13 men) gathering on steps
Jim Gilman at Town Hall in Masur Auditorium
Martha Rinker, speaker from the non-profit National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), addresses the audience on Rare Disease Day Feb. 29, 2016, at the NIH Clinical Center.
Betsy Furlong inspects the UV Illuminator cassette.
The atrium gift shop recently re-opened under management of the Foundation for the Advancement of Education in the Sciences
Avish Parashar brought audience members on stage to showcase that planning is important, but the ability to improvise is essential during a seminar on Dec. 3.
The open forum of the town hall provided an opportunity for staff to learn about Building 10 updates and offer input.
Dr. Pete Choyke discusses his research with fifteen members of the Oncology Nursing Society.
Everyone who works in the Clinical Center, in every type of occupation, can provide feedback in the 2016 NIH Clinical Center Employee Survey.
Israeli Minister of Health MK Rabbi Yacov Litznan visits the NIH Clinical Center.
Dr. Richard W. Childs, joined by his wife, son and daughter, says the oath of office.
Parking booth attendants decorated their facilities to show holiday cheer.
Dr. John I. Gallin presents Dr. Clare Hastings with the 'dirt award' at her retirement gathering.
About 300 awards were presented at the Clinical Center Director's Annual Address and Awards Ceremony on Dec. 18.
Rebecca Vichi, Clinical Center volunteer.
Dr. John I. Gallin cuts the ribbon with Heidi Grolig and Jerry Sachs.
Picture of woman looking at camera.
People line up at the new marketplace Starbucks café