Substitutes and alternatives to platelet transfusions in thrombocytopenic patients
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Over the past decade, there have been many improvements in both the safety profile and quality of liquid-stored allogeneic platelet concentrates. However, significant problems with the clinical use of such products remain. Efforts to overcome some of these have resulted in the development of an array of novel therapeutic strategies for the manufacture of platelet products and platelet substitutes, as well as other approaches using alternatives to platelet concentrates. These various products or procedures are at various stages of clinical development. This review summarizes some recent advancements in the preparation of liquid and frozen stored platelets, as well as approaches used for the pathogen inactivation of platelets. Thus, the status of lyophilized platelets, infusible platelet membranes, red blood cells (RBCs) bearing RGD ligands, fibrinogen-coated albumin microcapsules, and liposome-based agents are discussed. Pre-clinical studies and phase 1-3 clinical trials have been encouraging for several of these; however, to date, very few have been licensed for clinical use. Potential alternatives to allogeneic platelet transfusions including correction of anemia by RBC transfusions, recombinant activated factor VII and HLA-reduced platelets are also reviewed. With the ongoing technical and scientific development of such diverse products, those properties that may be necessary for such agents to have hemostatic efficacy will become apparent. However, safety and efficacy must be demonstrable in preclinical studies and clinical trials, before novel platelet concentrates, platelet substitutes and alternatives to platelets can be used in patients with thrombocytopenia.
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