Reports from both adult and paediatric populations indicate that approximately two-thirds of platelet transfusions are used prophylactically to prevent bleeding, while the remaining one-third are used therapeutically to manage active bleeding. These two indications, prophylactic and therapeutic, serve two very distinct purposes and therefore will have two different functional requirements. In addition, disease aetiology in a given patient may require platelets with different functional characteristics. These characteristics can be derived from the various manufacturing methods used in platelet product production, including collection methods, processing methods, and storage options. The iterative combinations of manufacturing methods can result in a number of unique platelet products with different efficacy and safety profiles, which could potentially be used to benefit patient populations by meeting diverse clinical needs. In particular, cold storage of platelet products causes many biochemical and functional changes, of which the most notable characterised to date include increased haemostatic activity and altered expression of molecules inherent to platelet:leucocyte interactions. The in vivo consequences, both short- and long-term, of these molecular and cellular cold-storage-induced changes have yet to be clearly defined. Elucidation of these mechanisms would potentially reveal unique biologies that could be harnessed to provide more targeted therapies. To this end, in this new era of personalised medicine, perhaps there is an opportunity to provide individual patients with platelet products that are tailored to their clinical condition and the specific indication for transfusion.
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