The International Blood Transfusion Society (IBTS) commended Iran as a successful model and a fervent scientific member of its Rare Donors Working Party in identification, supply and storage of rare blood units.
“Iran is recognized as a top contributor on the strength of its services and scientific contributions in the field, while the Rare Donors Working Group is comprised of developed nations for the most part,” said Mostafa Moghaddam, head of the Immunohematology Reference Laboratory at the Iranian Blood Transfusion Organization (IBTO).
The IBTS working party comprises 22 member states including China, Japan and Iran from Asia and its objective is to enhance international collaboration to enable provision of rare blood to patients. Iran has been a member for five years, ILNA reports.
In the ABO system, all blood belongs to one of four major groups: A+/-, B+/-, AB+/- or O+/-. But there are minor blood groups that can complicate blood transfusions known as rare blood types.
There are 200 minor blood groups and 600 known antigens besides the popular A, B and Rh. Because blood groups are distributed differently in various ethnic groups, finding a blood donor with the exact blood type is a huge challenge.
A rare blood donor match occurs one in every 1,000. To prevent shortages of rare donor blood units, red cell donations can be frozen for future use. Therefore, it is crucial to have an international database of rare blood donors to ensure that patients who require lifesaving rare blood units are able to receive them.
The IBTO’s Immunohematology Reference Laboratory developed a national database of 1,000 active rare donors and stores 170 RBC (red blood cells) units of frozen rare blood types at -80°c. All the 31 provincial blood centers are participating in the National Rare Blood Program to provide medical assistance to the 13 known rare blood donors in the country.
Iran is one of the 18 members of the IBTS Immunohematology Working Party for its scientific and technical advancements and global standards in identifying problematic blood samples and supplying blood through blood banks, Moghaddam noted.
The workgroup studies reactions that take place between antigens present in blood cells and antibodies in plasma.
Iran also chairs the group’s four-member executive committee along with Switzerland, England and France.
Moghaddam said an international immunohematology seminar will be held in December in Tehran in cooperation with the IBTO. The first international seminar on ‘Rare Blood Donors’ was held in September 2014.
Iran participated in the IBTS 25th Regional Congress (June 27-July 1) in London. The congress provides networking opportunities and the prospect to connect professionals with industry and vice versa.