Neil Blumberg, M.D.

Neil Blumberg, M.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 608
Rochester, NY 14642

Office: (585) 275-3189
Fax: (585) 273-3002

Research Bio

Blood transfusions are known to be broadly immunomodulatory and are associated with substantially poorer clinical outcomes in surgical and cancer patients, and better outcomes in solid organ allograft recipients. Our laboratory and clinical group has been interested for the last twenty years in the disparate effects of autologous and allogeneic transfusions on immune function, as well as the potential benefits of removing allogeneic white cells and stored supernatant plasma from blood components before transfusions.

Our studies demonstrated that patients receiving leukocyte-reduced allogeneic blood transfusions for leukemia, and those receiving leukocyte-reduced allogeneic or autologous transfusions during surgical procedures, experienced reduced morbidity and mortality compared with patients receiving unmodified allogeneic transfusions. We were the first to document that one likely mechanism for these benefits is that allogeneic transfusions promote type 2 (Th2) cellular immunity and down regulate type 1 (Th1) immunity. Leukoreduction or use of autologous transfusions reduces these immunologic effects. We also have pioneered clinical outcomes and cost-effectiveness analyses in the study of transfusion immunomodulation.

Transfusions, however, can also promote inflammatory processes. Platelet transfusions are associated with a dose dependent increase in multi-organ failure syndrome in surgical patients. Work done in collaboration with Dr. Rick Phipps's laboratory has shown that stored platelet transfusion supernatant promotes cellular secretion of PGE2 , IL6 and IL8 in vitro through a soluble CD40L dependent mechanism. Current investigations include clinical and laboratory studies of the effects of stored platelet supernatant CD40L on clinical outcomes and in vitro immunologic function. We are also exploring the possible use of autologous stored platelet supernatant for immunotherapeutic use.

Awards & Honors (National)

Editorial Board Member | BLOOD | Washington, DC 2008 - 2012
Co-Chair REDS III and Chair REDS II Data Monitoring Committee | NIH-National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute | Bethesda, MD 2005 - 2018
Editorial Board Member | TRANSFUSION | Washington, DC 1990 - Present
National Merit Scholarship Program | National Merit Scholarship Program 1966 - 1970

Awards & Honors (Local)

NIH Medical Scientist Training Grant Fellowship 1971 - 1974
BS, Yale, Magna cum laude 1970
Phi Beta Kappa 1969

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 227 available »

2015 Nov 3
Zaffuto BJ, Conley GW, Connolly GC, Henrichs KF, Francis CW, Heal JM, Blumberg N, Refaai MA. "ABO-immune complex formation and impact on platelet function, red cell structural integrity and haemostasis: an in vitro model of ABO non-identical transfusion." Vox sanguinis. 2015 Nov 3; Epub 2015 Nov 03.
2015 Nov
Aquina CT, Blumberg N, Probst CP, Becerra AZ, Hensley BJ, Iannuzzi JC, Gonzalez MG, Deeb AP, Noyes K, Monson JR, Fleming FJ. "Significant Variation in Blood Transfusion Practice Persists following Upper GI Cancer Resection." Journal of gastrointestinal surgery : official journal of the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract. 2015 Nov; 19(11):1927-37. Epub 2015 Aug 12.
2015 Oct
Blumberg N. "The rise, fall and future of red blood cell transfusions." MLO: medical laboratory observer. 2015 Oct; 47(10):24.
2015 Sep
Schmidt AE, Kirkley S, Patel N, Masel D, Bowen R, Blumberg N, Refaai MA. "An alternative method to dithiothreitol treatment for antibody screening in patients receiving daratumumab." Transfusion. 2015 Sep; 55(9):2292-3.
2015 Jul
Blumberg N, Refaai M, Heal J. "ABO matching of platelet transfusions - "Start Making Sense" "As we get older, and stop making senseā€¦" - The Talking Heads (1984)." Blood transfusion = Trasfusione del sangue. 2015 Jul; 13(3):347-50. Epub 2015 Feb 02.

Current Appointments

Professor - Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (SMD) - Primary


Clinical Pathology/Laboratory Medicine - American Board of Pathology


MD | Medicine | Yale University Sch Medicine1975
BS | Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry | Yale University1970

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

Residency in Laboratory Medicine at Yale University -New Haven Hospital07/01/1976 - 06/30/1978
Internship in Laboratory Medicine at Yale University -New Haven Hospital09/01/1975 - 06/30/1976