Scientists have identified a link between transfusing donated platelets and the risk of a bone marrow transplant being unsuccessful.
Researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine determined the risk and will publish their findings in the September 1st issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
They found that the greater the number of transfusions a patient has, the greater the likelihood that a bone marrow transplant will be rejected.
Dr James Zimring, assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, commented: "Platelets are mostly given to prevent or to stop acute bleeding or haemorrhage.
"Clearly, none of us would risk a patient bleeding to avoid possible complications for a subsequent bone marrow transplant.
"Greater understanding of the biology involved is required to modify our transfusion and/or transplantation procedures so as to circumvent the problem."
A bone marrow transplant occurs when healthy stem cells, which are responsible for producing red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, are transferred from a donor to a recipient.