Valentina Baez-Sosa, MD: Treating Alloimmunization Alongside Sickle Cell Disease

January 19, 2022
Giuliana Grossi

Alloimmunization is more prevalent among patients with sickle cell disease than previous literature states. Baez-Sosa discusses her study and treatment practices.

Recent research revealed a higher prevalence of alloimmunization in patients with sickle cell disease (SCD)(25.5%) than in the previous literature (7- 59%) and the general population (2%).

In an interview with HCPLive®, Valentina Baez-Sosa, MD, Chief Hematology-Oncology Fellow at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, explained the findings of her study, "Impact of Alloimmunization in Patients with Sickle Cell Disease".

According to the American Society of Hematology (ASH), some of the measurements to decrease alloimmunizations include extended red blood cell (RBC) antigen profile, either by genotype or serology, for all individuals with sickle cell.

"So, prophylactic red blood cell antigen matching, for at least our H, C, E and K, to all individuals with sickle cell requiring transfusion, is recommended to minimize alloimmunizations," Baez-Sosa explained. "And this can occur after a single blood transfusion."

In the absence of CEK antigen matching, alloimmunization occurs in approximately 30% of individuals with sickle cell disease who are transfused, at least intermittently.

"As part of our current practice," Baez-Sosa said, "we do extended antigen matching for any sickle cell patient with one or more antibodies. And we do CEK only for non-alloimmunized patients."

Baez-Sosa elaborated on the findings of the study and the specific areas she and her team want to focus on in the future.

"I think one of the findings that I'm particularly intrigued about is the fact that we found a difference in the ABO type," she said. "For example, alloimmunized patients had an increased incidence of type O, so 62%, compared to 35%, in the non-alloimmunized group, and this was statistically significant."

"We cannot fully explain why this is happening," she continued, "but we're very interested in exploring this a little bit further."


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