Problems and questions from clinic and practice

Anemia is a common condition caused by a genetic condition or as a result of an immunological disease or treatment of a disorder. Transfusion of erythrocytes increases the quality of life in cases of blood loss and chronic anemia. However, blood transfusion also entails risks, such as that of immunisation, transfusion reactions and blood-borne diseases. Repeated blood transfusion causes iron overload and this may damage organs. Pregnancy can also result in immunisation against blood group antigens, and this can cause anemia in the (unborn) child and can complicate blood transfusion. The blood supply itself is under pressure. Aging of the population results in a decrease in blood donors and an increase in the demand for blood. In addition, due to changes in the ethnic composition of the Dutch population, there is an increasing demand for a rare blood groups to prevent immunisation or, in the case of immunisation, to provide matched blood. Global movement of people and goods also increases the fast spread of blood-borne diseases.

Solutions: Sanquin products and services

Safe transfusion blood for patients with blood loss or chronic anemia is one of the most important Sanquin products. For optimum safety, Sanquin develops guidelines for transfusion treatment and diagnostics, to quickly determine clinically relevant blood groups and potential pathogenic antibodies. By supplying ‘tailor-made blood’, we want to prevent immunisation and other adverse events.
In the future we would like to know how we (i) can treat chronic anemia and limit transfusions, (ii) can improve the transfusion yield by increasing and extending the contribution of all transfused cells, (iii) can reduce immunisation against blood groups after transfusion and pregnancy, and (iv) can reduce the damage of iron overload as a result of blood transfusions.
Not only the health of the patient, but also certainly that of the donor is our responsibility. So we would like to be able to predict the period of recovery of individual donors before they are able to donate blood again.
Finally, we develop cultured blood that enables us to prevent immunisation, exclude the risk of blood-borne diseases and produce therapeutic products.


Robin van Bruggen PhD

Research groups

Antigen presentation and immunotherapy (Robbert Spaapen PhD)
Antigen specific B cell responses (Prof Marieke van Ham PhD)
Blood-borne Infections (Prof Hans Zaaijer MD PhD)
Blood Cell Research (Product and Process Development, Blood Bank) (Dirk de Korte PhD)
Cellular Hemostasis (Prof Jan Voorberg PhD)
Complement Research (Ilse Jongerius PhD)
Control of erythropoiesis and megakaryopoiesis by environmental factors   (Marieke von Lindern PhD)
Donor Behaviour (Prof Eva-Maria Merz PhD)
Donor Cognition (Elisabeth Huis in 't Veld PhD)
Donor Health (Katja van den Hurk PhD)
Epidemiology of transfusion medicine (Prof Anske van der Bom MD PhD)
Erythropoiesis in healthy and deregulated hematopoiesis (Micha Nethe PhD)
Experimental Immunohematology (Prof Ellen van der Schoot MD PhD)
Immunoglobulin Research (Gestur Vidarsson PhD)
Hematopoiesis (Emile van den Akker PhD)
Molecular Hemostasis (Prof Joost Meijers PhD)
Pediatric Hematology (Prof Karin Fijnvandraat MD PhD)
Phagocyte Laboratory (Prof Timo van den Berg PhD, Prof Taco Kuijpers MD PhD)
Plasma Proteins & Research Facilities (Maartje van den Biggelaar PhD)
Proteomics and biomolecular mass spectrometry of hemostatic processes (Prof Sander Meijer PhD)
Red Cell Laboratory (Robin van Bruggen PhD)
Stem Cell Biology (Prof Gerald de Haan PhD)
Transfusion Technology Assessment (Mart Janssen PhD)
Translational Immunohematology (Prof Masja de Haas MD PhD)