Sheffield scientists make red blood cell discovery

Consultant Haematologist Dr Josh Wright (left) and Biomedical Scientist Jason Eyre.
Consultant Haematologist Dr Josh Wright (left) and Biomedical Scientist Jason Eyre.
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A team of Sheffield scientists have made a breakthrough discovery which could help to diagnose blood disorders.

The haemoglobinopathy diagnostics department at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital have discovered four previously undiscovered variants of haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells which gives them their red colour.

Biomedical scientist Jason Eyre, who leads the Haemoglobin Mass Spectrometry service with Dr Josh Wright, said: “Haemoglobin transports oxygen from the lungs around the body, so anything that interferes with its ability to do that, or that decreases the lifespan of the red cells, can be significant.

“If we find a variant in screening that we don’t recognise, then we don’t know if it is significant. So it is important to be able to correctly identify haemoglobin variants. Once a clinician knows the root cause of a condition, it can then be managed.”