White Blood Cells Issues

T-cells (or T-lymphocytes) are a type of white blood cell that plays a central role in the cell-driven immune responses of the body. In consequence, viable T-cells in transfused blood components can cause transfusion-associated graft versus host disease (TA-GVHD). While most recipients quickly eliminate donor T-cells, some patients may not be able to clear these cells, especially if their immune system is compromised. In this case, the recipient’s immune system will not recognise the donor T-cells as foreign. Rather than being cleared, these donor T-cells may multiply and attack recipient tissues and organs, resulting in TA-GVHD. Although it is a rare disease, TA-GVHD is almost always fatal, with death typically occurring within the first three weeks of symptoms. As an effective treatment does not yet exist, prevention is critical.