Similiarities with HDFN

Haemolytic disease of the foetus and newborn (HDFN)

This condition has been known for many decades and is associated with discrepancies in blood types between mother and foetus. Typically the mother has the blood group RhD negative (rhesus negative) whereas the foetus is RhD positive. The mother produce antibodies against the RhD positive red blood cells of the foetus and these antibodies can traverse placenta and destroy the foetus’s blood cells. Previously, HDFN resulted in a large number of stillbirths and deaths or severe brain damage of the newborns.


A prophylactic treatment against HDFN was introduced forty years ago and this treatment has almost eradicated this serious condition. By administering anti-D immunoglobulin (antibodies against RhD) to RhD negative women who have given birth to an RhD positive child, it is possible to prevent the mother from producing the antibodies that may harm the foetus in a subsequent pregnancy.

Foetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (FNAIT)

FNAIT resembles HDFN but in FNAIT maternal antibodies are directed against the foetus’s blood platelets and not the red blood cells. The unwanted maternal antibodies are usually directed against HPA-1a on the foetus’s platelets. The aim of the PROFNAIT project is to develop an anti-HPA-1a immunoglobulin for prevention of FNAIT. This drug is expected to work in the exactly same way as anti-D immunoglobulin which today is used to prevent HDFN