Individuals with low platelet counts have an increased risk of bleeding, which, when it occurs in the brain, can cause disability or death. The risk of such bleeding is reduced by platelet transfusion. In Europe, 1.4 million platelet concentrates are transfused each year. A low platelet count can result from failure to produce platelets, as occurs in cancer patients, or from their destruction by antibodies, which occurs in 1 in 1000 newborns because of a difference in platelet type between mother and baby, and can result in brain damage with an incidence of up to 1 in 5,000 births and a life health care cost of 570,000 euro per child. Certain platelet antibodies can also reduce the chance of a successful kidney transplant. Screening of pregnant women for prevention of Rhesus babies, the red cell equivalent of the platelet destruction in babies, is often mandatory, but the complexity of platelet tests means that antenatal screening is currently unaffordable. We propose to develop simple, affordable platelet diagnostics with the aims of reducing the incidence of cerebral bleeds, and improving kidney transplants by improved matching between donor and patient.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
CB2 2PT Cambridge