How are granulocytes for transfusion best used? The past, the present and the future.
Morton S., Fleming K., Stanworth SJ.
Granulocyte transfusions continue to be used in clinical practice, predominantly for treatment of refractory infection in the setting of severe neutropenia. There is biological plausibility for effectiveness in these patients with deficiencies of neutrophils, either as a consequence of disease or treatment. However, there is a chequered history of conducting and completing interventional trials to define optimal use, and many uncertainties remain regarding schedule and dose. Practice and clinical studies are severely limited by the short shelf life and viability of current products, which often restricts the timely access to granulocyte transfusions. In the future, methods are needed to optimise donor-derived granulocyte products. Options include use of manufactured neutrophils, expanded and engineered from stem cells. Further possibilities include manipulation of neutrophils to enhance their function and/or longevity. Granulocyte transfusions contain a heterogeneous mix of cells, and there is additional interest in how these transfusions may have immunomodulatory effects, including for potential uses as adjuncts for anti-cancer effects.