REPROCELL and BioBridge Global sign Memorandum of Understanding to accelerate global manufacturing services using clinical iPSCs

BioBridge Global working in the battle with cancer on multiple fronts 

BioBridge Global is making significant contributions to the ongoing fight with cancer, the organization’s Chief Scientific Officer told members of The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation board of directors at their meeting on Monday. 

From blood transfusions to helping produce advanced therapies, Scott Jones, PhD outlined the organization’s efforts. 

“Blood and platelets are our first area of support – 33% of all transfusions today go to cancer patients. But we are involved in a lot more areas, including the development of new therapies.” 

Scott Jones, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer

Among the departments at BioBridge Global working on moving new treatments forward is Research and Development. 

“We have a very active R&D group here,” said Jones, who leads Research and Development at BioBridge Global. 

The team is working on developing “carriers” for stem cells and other types of cells in bioreactors, which multiply the cells for further research and eventually for treatments. R&D is developing multiple tests for use in the development of cancer therapies, as well as testing platforms for cell production. 

The organization is also working on process development – developing processes to scale up therapies produced by researchers in order to make it in usable quantities for treating patients. 

An existing lab within QualTex Laboratories has expanded its focus to include testing of advanced therapies, Jones said. 

“And the final piece of the puzzle is the manufacturing part,” he said. “We have our GenCure biomanufacturing lab at the VelocityTX technology incubator with a suite of clean rooms, with the capacity to manufacture cell therapies for a variety of cancers.” 

South Texas Blood & Tissue joins Cord Blood Bank Alliance 

South Texas Blood & Tissue is part of a newly formed alliance to help build awareness of and expand research into umbilical cord blood therapies. 

The Be The Match BioTherapies Cord Blood Bank Alliance was announced in July and includes eight banks around the country, including the Texas Cord Blood Bank, which is part of South Texas Blood & Tissue. 

“Cord blood is an abundantly available biologic resource with a proven safety profile that can be leveraged to develop critical, life-saving cell therapies,” said Heather Stefanski, MD PhD, Vice President Medical Services, National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match, in the announcement of the alliance

“As a global leader in cell therapy, we are proud to lead the CBBA as it works to expand the use of cord blood in the advancement of cell therapy that will ultimately save more lives.” 

The alliance could help in the development of new advanced therapies by helping researchers identify and access cord blood units more easily. 

“We have been collecting, categorizing and storing cord blood donations since 2005, and we’re proud to be part of this effort to expand their use to help more people,” said Dr. Vivienne Marshall, Senior Director of the Center for Advanced Therapies with South Texas Blood & Tissue. 

“Being a part of the alliance, which promotes and organizes the use of this stored cord blood, has the potential to advance research into a wide range of blood, immune disorders, and new cancer treatments.”

Cord blood has been used for stem cell transplants for decades, but researchers are finding that cord blood units are particularly useful as a cellular starting material, for advanced therapies for the development of new therapies for cancer.

According to its website, “Be The Match BioTherapies will act as the single point of contact for contracting and quality system engagement between researchers and developers seeking therapy matched CBUs, and cord blood banks.” 

South Texas Blood & Tissue collects an average of 1,000 cord blood units a year donated by new parents at its network of hospitals in San Antonio, Austin and the Rio Grande Valley. 

The alliance will provide visibility into the Be The Match Registry of 270,000 clinical grade, fully characterized CBUs in domestic banks, and manage the logistics to ensure CBUs are delivered to cell therapy developers when needed. 

Meet our Champions

Myra Arthur, Stephanie Guerra, Dr. Gabi Niederauer, Diana Rendon and Jason Rice are all driven by a personal story or a passion to give back to their community. They have recently launched their 90-day campaigns which run from July 21-Oct 21 in an effort to raise awareness and funds needed to replace eight blood service vehicles and be named the top Champion at the 2023 Red & White Ball.

Show them your support by joining their team, making a donation and following their journey.  

You can follow them on social media at:  

Myra Arthur 
Instagram: @myra_arthur 
Twitter: @KSATmyra

Stephanie Guerra 
Facebook: @PuroPinche 
Instagram: @puropinchesa 
Twitter: @PuroPincheSA 

Dr. Gabi Niederauer 
Facebook: @Gabriele Gruss Niederauer 
Instagram: @GabiNiederauer 

Diana Rendon 
Facebook: @Diana Schneider Rendon 
Instagram: @dianakat04 
LinkedIn: @Diana Rendon 

Jason Rice 
Facebook: @Jason Rice 

You can also follow @Southtexasblood on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and help by sharing the upcoming posts about our champions to your networks.  

The last call for sponsorship opportunities to be included in the printed event program is by September 22. Tickets and sponsorships can be purchased here.  

If you have already purchased your sponsorship, thank you and please remember to send Mary Dial your guest list. Providing your guest list with contact information will help Foundation staff get a message to your guests. Messages will include updates on the evening’s events and include parking details and night of purchase information. This year, guests will be offered the opportunity to skip the line and pre-register for the event online.  Pre-registration will also help expedite guests purchases at the end of the evening.  

Thank you to all who brought in wine to donate to the ball wine pull. We are still accepting donations. Please email to make arrangements for drop off or pick up. We are happy to accommodate either.  

August 2023: Foundation Board Member Spotlight

What part of the organization and mission speaks most to you and why? 
As a cancer survivor myself, as well as knowing many impacted by cancer amongst my friends and family, I’ve seen the lifesaving and life-extending measures that efforts like the Blood & Tissue Center bring to families. It truly is inspiring work and when fellow-Board member Kristen Schneider Boerger invited me as a guest to The Red & White Ball, the cause had an immediate effect on me, and I felt drawn to be an active participant.  

What do you like to do?  

I have 3 young kids, so they keep us busy with activities and sports, but we love to travel and try to do so often. Music is something my entire family enjoys, and we have regular dance parties at our house in the evening – the dual purpose of fun and to exhaust our kids, but we also like to go to music festivals and see live music. Food is a huge part of my life; through my profession, but I also love to cook and bake and try new restaurants as often as possible. I also really enjoy painting when time allows! 

What motivates you?   

This is such a broad question! I’d say a lot motivates me, whether it’s something directly affecting my family or friends, or if there’s a specific cause or action near and dear to my heart. I enjoy being a part of a team contributing toward change and making an impact for the greater good. 

Is there anything about your time on the board you would like to share? Most cherished moments, greatest accomplishments, something you are looking forward to?  

Leading the decoration committee right upon Board induction has been a whirlwind, but a really fun exercise of marrying together my passion for design with event planning. Very much looking forward to seeing the efforts of all the committees come to fruition this fall at the Red & White Ball! 

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