Whole genome sequencing’s first randomized trial in healthy adults – the MedSeq Project – was leveraged by New York Blood Center, Harvard Medical School, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) investigators in a new study. The aim was to create and approve a computer program that could cost-effectively and comprehensively identify differences in blood types of individuals having an over 99% accuracy. It is expected of whole genome sequencing to innovate therapy as it becomes routine for patients by determining at-risk recipients and rare donors prior to blood transfusions. The Lancet Haematology has published the results of the study.

One of the First Routine Clinical Uses of Genomics in Blood Transfusion

Blood typing for all antigens is not cost-effective with the use of current technology, said BWH Department of Pathology’s Tissue Typing Laboratory assistant director, William Lane, MD, Ph.D., who is also the first author. Patients requiring chronic transfusion are commonly witnessing blood transfusion complications. In such a scenario, the study’s contribution could be critical. According to Lane, the algorithm developed by the investigators could be applied to type everyone for every pertinent blood group at an economical cost after sequencing is procured.

New York Blood Center’s Connie M. Westhoff, Ph.D., co-first author said that this approach could potentially become one of the genomics’ first routine clinical medical care uses for patients requiring blood transfusion. Westhoff continued saying it could even avoid fatal or serious complications as patients could bear the risk of hemolytic transfusion reactions for life once they are sensitized, if blood transfusion is required in an emergency.

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