How often people can give blood may be guided by new national study

How often people can give blood may be guided by new national study
1.4m blood donors provide around 2m units of blood each year. The NHS needs 7,000 blood donations a day.

(Medical Xpress)—Blood donors are being invited to take part in a large study which could shape the future of blood donation nationally and internationally, providing a personalised service for donors.

The INTERVAL study is the first of its kind in the world. It will gather evidence from 50,000 blood donors to see if the length of time between donations can be tailored to individual donors, based on factors such as age, weight, diet and inherited factors.

The study is being run by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in collaboration with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).

Participants will be able to take part in the 25 fixed donor centres run by NHSBT across England, with the research project forming part of routine practice at those centres. England is one of the few countries which can run a study of this size due to NHSBT operating as a single organisation with standard practice across all donation venues.

can lower the body's , and intervals are set to minimise . In England and North Wales intervals are currently 12 weeks for men and 16 weeks for women – but these vary across Europe.

'It is hoped that this new research will provide definitive scientific data to inform optimum donation frequency,' said Professor David Roberts of the Radcliffe Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford, who is leading the study with Professor John Danesh of the University of Cambridge.

'Ultimately we aim to make giving blood even easier by providing more opportunities for a person to donate, whilst at the same time keeping them safe from anaemia,' Professor Roberts added.

NHSBT's medical and research director Dr Lorna Williamson said, 'The aim of this ground-breaking research is to see if donation intervals can be tailored to suit individual donors by age, gender and other characteristics.'

Men taking part in the study will be allocated to donate at intervals of 8, 10 or 12 weeks and women at 12, 14 and 16 week intervals over a period of two years.

Professor John Danesh of the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge said: 'In order to examine their iron levels, we will collect blood samples at both the start and end of the trial. Donors will then be monitored throughout the study via an online questionnaire once every six months. There will also be on-line tests of mental function and, for some donors, of physical activity monitoring.'

Recruitment for to take part in INTERVAL began in June 2012 and will continue into 2013, with results beginning to emerge in 2015. By mid-September, around 7,500 donors had already enrolled to take part in the study.

Anyone wishing to take part in the INTERVAL study must be able to give when called at one of NHSBT's fixed centres, be 18 years or over and have access to the internet with a valid email address.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

What are the chances that your dad isn't your dad?

Apr 16, 2014

How confident are you that the man you call dad is really your biological father? If you believe some of the most commonly-quoted figures, you could be forgiven for not being very confident at all. But how ...

New technology that is revealing the science of chewing

Apr 15, 2014

CSIRO's 3D mastication modelling, demonstrated for the first time in Melbourne today, is starting to provide researchers with new understanding of how to reduce salt, sugar and fat in food products, as well ...

After skin cancer, removable model replaces real ear

Apr 11, 2014

(HealthDay)—During his 10-year struggle with basal cell carcinoma, Henry Fiorentini emerged minus his right ear, and minus the hearing that goes with it. The good news: Today, the 56-year-old IT programmer ...

Italy scraps ban on donor-assisted reproduction

Apr 09, 2014

Italy's Constitutional Court on Wednesday struck down a Catholic Church-backed ban against assisted reproduction with sperm or egg donors that has forced thousands of sterile couples to seek help abroad.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (2) Sep 25, 2012
Near iron deficiency has been used to treat a number of diseases. Any intervention which would limit the ability of people to maintain a low iron state should be met with scepticism if not outright animosity.