Geir Hetland's research group Transfusion medicine and Immuno-modulation (TRIM)

Geir Hetland

1) Improve production and preservation of blood products for patients

2) Examine immunomodulatory substances from mushrooms & plants and their use as adjuvant therapy for diseases with poor prognosis or – treatment.

The Department of immunology and transfusion medicine produces blood products such as red blood cell, platelet concentrates and plasma from donated whole blood. Except from plasma that is frozen, the short shelf-life of cellular and platelet products is logistically challenging in addition to quality and sterility concerns especially for platelet concentrates. The blood bank therefore focuses on improving production and preservation of blood products. Besides negative immunomodulating effects of transfusions, e.g. MHC alloimmunization, it is well known that the immune system can be modulated in a positive way. By engaging receptors for danger signals such as TLR and dectin-1 on innate immune cells, harmless substances from yeast and edible mushrooms such as β-glucans, may be exploited therapeutically against challenges such as incurable cancers (e.g. hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and multiple myeloma), autoimmune diseases (e.g. inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA)), or for diseases with poor treatment such as allergy and asthma. β-glucans and edible Basidiomycetes mushrooms such as Agaricus blazei Murill (AbM) from Brazilian rain forest, have been shown to have anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory effects in mouse models and may also protect the bone marrow against irradiation. We are studying effects of an AbM-based extract, Andosan, and fractions thereof in vitro and as add-on treatment in clinical settings. Moreover, we are involved in the Danish EU project “The Seaweed Biorefinery for high value added products”, in which we will examine immunomodulatory properties of substances from seaweed.


Quality of platelet concentrates produced from whole blood by automated cell separation. Improved platelet products for hemotherapy of HLA-alloimmunized, platelet-refractory patients: platelets made HLA deficient by acid treatment. Cryopreservation of blood products: Supercooling of red blood cells for prolonged preservation without addition of cryopreservatives, freezing of platelets in DMSO Andosan treatment of blood donors with pollen allergy and asthma. Add-on Andosan treatment for IBD and RA patients. Protection against irradiation side effects by mushroom extracts in mice Cytotoxic effects of Andosan on tumor cell lines and treatment of intestinal cancer in a mouse model Immunomodulatory properties of substances isolated from seaweed

Group Leader
Geir Hetland
Department of immunology and transfusion medicine
Tel: +47 2211 8878