August 31, 2015

A discovery by biomedical researchers in San Antonio could one day save lives on the battlefield and beyond.

Engineers at the University of Texas at San Antonio, working with a team at the San Antonio-based U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, found that cold storage of platelets could not only preserve them much longer, but also make them more effective for the treatment of traumatic injury.

Currently, platelets – the blood component integral to the body’s clotting process – are stored at room temperature and have a shelf life of five days, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines. Storage at room temperature increases the risk for bacterial growth in the platelets, so hospitals typically quarantine them for testing before transfusion.