BACKGROUND: The major aims of the RBC-Omics study were to evaluate the genomic and metabolomic determinants of spontaneous and stress-induced hemolysis during RBC storage. This study was unique in scale and design to allow evaluation of RBC donations from a sufficient number of donors across the spectrum of race, ethnicity, sex, and donation intensity. Study procedures were carefully piloted, optimized, and controlled to enable high-quality data collection.
METHODS: The enrollment goal of 14,000 RBC donors across four centers, with characterization of RBC hemolysis across two testing laboratories, required rigorous piloting and optimization and establishment of a quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) program. Optimization of WBC elution from leukoreduction (LR) filters, development and validation of small-volume transfer bags, impact of manufacturing and sample-handling procedures on hemolysis parameters, and testing consistency across laboratories and technicians and over time were part of this quality assurance/quality control program.
RESULTS: LR filter elution procedures were optimized for obtaining DNA for analysis. Significant differences between standard and pediatric storage bags led to use of an alternative LR-RBC transfer bag. The impact of sample preparation and freezing methods on metabolomics analyses was evaluated. Proficiency testing monitored and documented testing consistency across laboratories and technicians.
CONCLUSION: Piloting and optimization, and establishment of a robust quality assurance/quality control program documented process consistency throughout the study and was essential in executing this large-scale multicenter study. This program supports the validity of the RBC-Omics study results and a sample repository that can be used in future studies.