Every year, 2 million patients in Poland are treated with blood and blood products. But only blood compatible with the recipient's blood type can be safely transfused. The Jagiellonian University (UJ) in Cracow and the Regional Blood Donation and Treatment Center (RCKiK) in Katowice have set up a consortium to develop modern reagents for serological tests.
Dominik Czaplicki, a PhD at the Jagiellonian University's Innovation, Technology Transfer and Development Center, says that reagents now used for blood grouping are based on monoclonal antibodies that detect only one type of antigens.
However, the reagents are not produced in Poland and have to be imported. A research team headed by Assoc. Prof. Joanna Bereta, of the Jagiellonian University's Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology Department, is working to generate new lines of cells that produce monoclonal antibodies.
The university has a specialist laboratory where the researchers can carry out projects of this kind. The Regional Blood Donation and Treatment Center in Katowice is Poland's only blood donation center producing serological reagents. The consortium of the two institutions aims to develop a technology for the production of blood grouping reagents. Although the technology will not be new by global standards, the project is expected to yield a set of reagents-cheaper than their imported counterparts - to identify every blood type (O, A, B and AB) and the D antigen, called the Rh factor.
Bereta is in charge of the research side of the undertaking. Dr. Katarzyna Rothkegel, head of the Serological Reagents Production Department at the Regional Blood Donation and Treatment Center in Katowice, and Dr. StanisΠaw Dylàg, the center's director, are responsible for the commercial side of the project.
"The project is planned for four years-this much time is needed to develop the technology and launch production," says Czaplicki. "We hope that spending from the national budget will be recouped in five or seven years and that the research will produce savings for taxpayers."
The consortium wants to carry out the project in two stages. The first stage, research work, will be conducted in Cracow. The second stage will involve preparations to launch production.