The clinical importance of blood groups and their antigens lies largely in pregnancy and allogenic transfusion, but also in transplantation. Red cell alloimmunization drives the development of serologic and molecular reagents tools used to unravel blood group antibody specificities to help manage clinical decision making for the delivery of babies at a safe gestational age and for safe compatible transfusions.

The fascinating history of the discovery of the blood groups goes back to 1900 with the breakthrough that came when Dr. Karl Landsteiner, an Austrian scientist, discovered three human blood groups. These were the A, B and O blood groups. For this discovery he was awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1930. Two students who worked with Karl Landsteiner discovered the fourth human blood group, the AB. These two were A. van Decastello and A. Sturli. These four blood groups together are what we today known as the ABO blood group system.

Now, 123 years after the first blood group discovered, how many blood groups are recognized? The clinical value is vast as many of the more recent blood group systems are associated with extremely rare antigen-negative phenotypes and null alleles requiring international searches for compatible blood. Learn in this podcast episode with Dr. Jill Storry what is the fascinating journey behind discovering blood groups and stay up to date on the latest blood groups that have been discovered.

This educational podcast activity is brought to you by Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Inc., and is not certified for continuing medical education. Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Inc. sponsors the program, and the speaker must present information following applicable FDA requirements.

About our Speaker: 

Jill Storry

PhD, Lund University, Sweden 

Dr. Jill Storry is a professor at the Division of Hematology and Transfusion Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Lund University, and is responsible for the immunohematology laboratories in the Department of Clinical Immunology and Transfusion Medicine. She is an American Association of Blood Banking (AABB) National Blood Foundation Scholar for her discovery of the genetic basis of the Vel blood group system. Her awards include the British Blood Transfusion Society’s Margaret Kenwright and Race & Sanger awards, the AABB’s Sally Frank Award, and an ISBT award for outstanding contributions to education. Dr. Storry has authored more than 60 original papers, reviews, and textbooks, and spoken at more than 100 international and national conferences and courses. She is a member of the editorial board of Transfusion Medicine Reviews, Transfusion and Immunohematology, and section editor for Vox Sanguinis.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Overview of the blood group systems and blood group antigens and how they get assigned to those systems
  • Discuss the role that demographics and geographic location plays in identifying new blood groups
  • Understanding test methods that help provide evidence of a new blood group antigen/system