- Amanda Davies ([Email Address Removed])
- Philip James ([Email Address Removed])
- Jess Williams ([Email Address Removed])
- Christine Saunders ([Email Address Removed])
This fully funded, 3-year, PhD scholarship offers a unique opportunity for a bright and motivated individual to work on an exciting project between Cardiff Metropolitan University and the Welsh Blood Service (WBS). Blood components including plasma, red blood cells and platelets are processed and supplied for the whole of Wales by WBS. In accordance with Guidelines for the Blood Transfusion Services in the UK (8th Edition) and in compliance with the regulatory requirements of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the safety and quality of blood components are assured by the strict requirements for the taking, processing and storage of blood from healthy donors(1). Despite meeting specifications, during the storage period deterioration of the cellular components occurs due to a range of biochemical and biomechanical changes occurring in both red cells and platelets. These detrimental changes are well documented and referred to as the “storage lesion” (2,3). Whilst these changes do not affect the blood components meeting regulatory specifications, they limit storage time and may impact the beneficial efficacy of the components following transfusion to a patient.
Conditions for platelet component storage were investigated and established in the 1970s and largely remain unchanged, hence in the UK platelets are routinely stored at ambient temperature under constant agitation for 7 days(4) . There is growing interest in the use of cold stored platelets as a component for use in trauma situations due to reported improved haemostatic performance due to partial platelet activation(5). In accordance with these findings the FDA has approved some licensing for cold stored platelets that have been processed and brought to 2 – 6oC within 2 hours of being donated(6). This restricts the use of cold stored platelets, where licensed, to donations collected by apheresis and not to multiple donor pooled platelet concentrates which constitute the majority of platelet packs transfused in the UK. This research scholarship will focus on applying a variety of techniques and model systems to test whether processing and storage conditions can be modified to achieve a suitable cold stored pooled platelet donation which is equivalent in haemostatic potential to the apheresis derived platelet concentrates. The use of cold stored platelets affords many advantages over the current ambient temperature storage. These include consistent blood component storage conditions, the potential for longer storage supporting platelet stocks, and reported advantages in efficacy for immediate haemostatic recovery in trauma situations and as such is of significant interest (7).
This PhD scholarship will build on the findings of a previous successful PhD collaboration in which we gained a better understanding of the limiting effects of the storage environment, and in particular, the influence of platelet concentration and O2 consumption in relation to inadequate O2 distribution in platelet packs. The next step will be to modify these factors to improve platelet quality and function.
Our group also has an established interest in extracellular vesicles (EV) generated by cells. EVs produced by platelets are particularly relevant because they are known to be 50-100 times more coagulative than platelets themselves. The haemostatic potential of plasma containing EVs derived from platelets has recently been demonstrated in a resuscitation model(8). This exciting area of research is yet to be explored, and the role of EV during storage and in enhancing haemostatic capability of cold stored platelets will now be investigated.
We seek an individual who is bright, enthusiastic, and keen to work with us to apply new ideas to challenge established protocols. The successful candidate will in turn benefit from considerable experience across a multi-disciplinary team and will be trained in applying novel and state of the art techniques to address the project aims.
Please submit all enquiries to either Amanda Davies ([Email Address Removed]) or Phil James ([Email Address Removed])
Applicants are requested to email an expression of interest and CV to Amanda Davies before21st January 2022; we anticipate interviews to take place in January with a view for the candidate to start in April 2022.