Developing array typing of blood cell antigens for clinical care

Study code

Lead researcher
Professor Emanuele Di Angelantonio

Study type
Participant re-contact

Institution or company
NHSBT (Cambridge)

Researcher type

Speciality area


Researchers have developed a new rapid test for determining blood groups, with support from NIHR BioResource participants. This test looks at the genetic information, or DNA, for blood groups. 

Each year millions of blood transfusions provide lifesaving support for patients in hospitals. However the current practice of matching blood transfusions does not always provide a perfect match and around 1 in 30 patients may form antibodies against blood groups after a single transfusion episode. This can cause reactions or delays when patients need further transfusions, particularly for patients who need repeated regular transfusions. Matching for just a limited number of blood groups in addition to ABO and RhD reduces antibody formation by 95%.

With the DNA-test all blood groups can be typed very efficiently in parallel. The test also allows us to rapidly type other tissue (HLA) and platelet groups, which can help doctors identify the right platelets to give to patients.   It has been shown that the increased typing information makes it 2.6 times more likely that a donation for safe transfusion can be identified. To bring this precision medicine test to the bedside regulatory approval is required. For this we seek access to samples and data from NHSBT blood donors who have already or will be joining the STRIDES NIHR BioResource. If permission is granted then the clinical study to obtain regulatory approval will be completed over a 24-month period following a well-defined study protocol.