Hope for rare disease blood carriers
PROFNAIT and how this project could save babies lives…….
by Professor Jens KJeldsen-Kragh
NAIT occurs when the platelet type in the pregnant mother is incompatible with that of her baby. As a result, the mother’s may produce antibodies that destroy the platelets of the feotus, compromising its ability to clot blood. Whilst many foetus’ with a reduced platelet count will develop into healthy babies, around 1 in every 10,000 experience spontaneous bleeding in the brain, resulting in severe disability or even death.
Professor Jens Kjeldsen-Kragh is part of PROFNAIT an initiative at the forefront of research into the disease. The team have been assessing similarities between NAIT and haemolytic disease, where discrepancies between a mother and baby’s blood type means the mother produces antibodies that destroy the foetus’s blood cells.
“For 40 years doctors have been administering anti-D immunoglobulin, which prevents the mother from producing antibodies that destroy the cells,” explains Professor Kjeldsen-Kragh “PROFNAIT aims to develop an immunoglobulin that works in the same way for NAIT.”
Using a safe and tested method, the team is confident a treatment will soon be available. “I hope that one day authorities will adopt platelet typing as a matter of course in ante-natal care,” says Professor Kjeldsen-Kragh. “With this knowledge, women and babies at risk can be identified and protected.”
read the full aticle in The Independent supplement on-line here
For more information about the PROFNAIT Project and to donate plasma click here