Defence innovation to save lives

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The Hon Dan Tehan MP

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Minister for Defence Personnel

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

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  • Byron Vale (Minister Tehan’s Office) 0428 262 894
  • Defence Media (02) 6127 1999

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17 November 2017

Minister for Defence Personnel Dan Tehan has announced locally-developed technology that will help save the lives of Australian troops.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF), Red Cross Blood Service and National Blood Authority have worked together since 2010 on the ADF Frozen Blood Project.

The Project will allow the supply of deep frozen red cells, platelets and plasma products that are suitable for use by Australian troops in military environments.

Mr Tehan today toured the Frozen Blood Project at the Red Cross Blood Service in Sydney.

Mr Tehan said the development of this technology would extend the shelf-life of a perishable commodity to provide a safe, readily available blood supply to our troops.

“Current blood products have a shelf life of five days for platelets, six weeks for red blood cells and 12 months for fresh blood plasma,” Mr Tehan said.

“This technology will allow storage of these products at minus 80 degrees Celsius for between two and ten years for platelets and plasma and up to ten years for red blood cells.

“Through the Frozen Blood Project, the ADF will become one of the few military forces in the world to have access to frozen blood products prepared from their own country’s blood supply.”

Mr Tehan said the technology had the potential to be used in remote communities throughout Australia.

“The ADF Frozen Blood Project has put Australia at the forefront of frozen blood research with obvious positive benefits for patients,” Mr Tehan said.

“The Blood Service is currently testing the feasibility of transfusing cardiac surgery patients with frozen platelets, in a clinical trial, in four metropolitan hospitals.

“The Red Cross Blood Service collects around 25,000 donations each week and some of those donations will be used to create frozen blood products for the ADF.

“Australia relies on about 500,000 volunteer Red Cross blood donors but we always need more donations to give the gift of life to those that need it.”

The United States and the Netherlands were the first nations to use frozen blood products for their defence forces. Australian researchers collaborated with the Netherlands military – pioneers in the field of frozen blood use – in refining and optimising this technology for use by the ADF.


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