Washington, Dec 31 (ANI): Replacing old blood with new boosts the chances for survival in cancer patients, according to study by Tel Aviv University.
The study by TAU researchers found that a transfusion of "young" blood - blood that has been stored for less than 9 days - increased the odds of survival in animals challenged with two types of cancer.
Led by Prof. Shamgar Ben-Eliyahu from the Department of Psychology's Neuroimmunology Research Unit, the discovery may solve an age-old mystery as to why some blood transfusions during cancer-related surgeries may lead to an increased recurrence of cancer and others do not.
"There is anecdotal evidence pointing to the fact that some surgeons really prefer to use younger blood units. They insist on it. Our research shows their reasoning might be sound," said Prof. Ben-Eliyahu.
He also explained that the oldest blood in a blood bank usually sits on the shelf anywhere from 40 to 42 days before it expires.
By making use of an animal model, the scientists conducted tests on rats with leukemia and breast cancer.
They found that the odds of surviving the cancer were only compromised if the transfusion blood had been stored for nine or more days.
"I don't think this study will or should change the practices of surgeons in hospitals, but it is definitely something that needs to be investigated further in human clinical studies. It might have a serious impact on the survival of prostate or colon cancers - two cancers that are associated with a lot of bleeding. If our research proves to be true in human trials, it should revolutionize the way we look at transfusion in cancer patients," said Prof. Ben-Eliyahu.
The study was published in the journal Anesthesiology. (ANI)