Blood transfusion is the single most frequent in-hospital medical procedure, a life-saving intervention for millions of recipients worldwide every year. Storage in the blood bank is an enabling strategy for this critical procedure, as it logistically solves the issue of making ~110 million units available for transfusion every year. Unfortunately, storage in the blood bank promotes a series of biochemical and morphological changes to the red blood cell that compromise the integrity and functionality of the erythrocyte in vitro and in animal models, and could negatively impact transfusion outcomes in the recipient. Areas covered: While commenting on the clinical relevance of the storage lesion is beyond the scope of this manuscript, here we will review recent advancements in our understanding of the storage lesion as gleaned through omics technologies. We will focus on how the omics-scale appreciation of the biological variability at the donor and recipient level is impacting our understanding of red blood cell storage biology. Expert commentary: Omics technologies are paving the way for personalized transfusion medicine, a discipline that promises to revolutionize a critical field in medical practice. The era of recipient-tailored additives, processing, and storage strategies may not be too far distant in the future.
Keywords: Proteomics; metabolomics; red blood cell.