11 July 2018

Abertay student works on life-saving frozen plasma project

Abertay student works on life-saving frozen plasma project

An Abertay University student has had a direct impact on a life-saving science project which will half the amount of time taken to get frozen plasma supplies to people severely injured in major incidents.

Applied Biomedical Science student Lee Meiklem (above) has been working in the lab with the East of Scotland Blood Transfusion Service (SBTS) on cutting the thawing time of fresh frozen plasma from 30 minutes to 15 minutes.

The frozen plasma is used in major incidents and over the last two years training scenarios have indicated the current half hour defrost time can often be too slow.

Paul Mathieson, a Senior Biomedical Scientist with the service based at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, said Lee’s work would have a direct impact.

He said: “The work that Lee was involved with will save lives.

“In the event of a casualty having a massive haemorrhage they will need plasma as well as blood to save their life.

“The faster we can supply plasma allows more time for the medical staff to stabilise a casualty quickly.”

The research saw tests carried out to increase the plasma thawing temperature from 37C to 45C, checking clotting factors were not affected.

The new process also means that smaller volume paediatric plasma can be thawed in just three minutes.

Lee took part in the project as part of clinical placement for his degree course.

He said: “It was an honour to be to be involved in the fresh frozen plasma investigation during my time on placement in Blood Transfusion.

“Being able to perform experimental work and gain valuable results that will directly affect people’s lives was hugely gratifying.

“Without Abertay’s laboratory placement opportunity, I would not have been able to be a part of such a revolutionary process and much credit must go to the SBTS staff at Ninewells for allowing me to be so heavily involved with the investigation.”

Scott Cameron, Biomedical Science lecturer at Abertay said: “We are hugely grateful to our partners at the East of Scotland Blood Transfusion Service for offering this excellent real-life clinical work placement.

“To have the chance to work on a project that will genuinely save lives is a huge feather in the cap for Lee and will stand him in great stead after graduation.

“All of our courses here at Abertay are grounded in the real world as we seek to supply the local talent pipeline with first class graduates, while also pushing new boundaries through world-class research.”

For more information on studying BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science at Abertay visit https://www.abertay.ac.uk/course-search/undergraduate/biomedical-science/

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