June 8, 2020

The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center is part of a new national coalition of plasma companies, healthcare organizations and medical institutions to promote plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 patients.

“The Fight Is In Us” campaign aims to encourage tens of thousands of recovered patients to donate convalescent plasma. Their plasma typically contains antibodies that can help those fighting the virus.

“The coalition is one more way for the community to help out area patients fighting COVID-19,” said Samantha Gomez Ngamsuntikul, Associate Medical Director of STBTC.

June 1, 2020

Amaya was enjoying her sophomore year of high school when she started feeling ill.

“We had color guard practices and I felt awful,” she said. “I was almost fainting. I needed to sit down or else I was going to black out.”

As doctors tried to understand what was happening to Amaya, she needed blood and platelet transfusions to help her feel better.

“I needed blood two times a week, at one point,” Amaya said.

In February 2019, she was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder called aplastic anemia.

When someone says ‘anemia’, well OK, she needs blood,” said Ernestine, Amaya’s mother. “But then her doctors started to educate me about what that was about. That started to scare me.”

Now, doctors say her best chance of a cure is a marrow transplant. To receive a transplant, a patient must find a matching donor on the Be The Match Registry—someone who has the same genetic tissue typing of the immune system as they do.

May 25, 2020

A drug for people with type 2 diabetes may reduce the occurrence of acute graft vs. host disease in patients who received peripheral blood stem cell transplants. 

The immune dysfunction can affect between 34% and 51% of transplant patients and is one of the major complications for patients weeks after a transplant, limiting the effectiveness of a cure for leukemia and lymphoma.

A preliminary clinical study at the Indiana University School of Medicine showed 78% of the patients in the study of the drug sitagliptin did not develop the disease, and none of them died.

May 18, 2020

For years, scientists have looked for ways to generate more blood stem cells for clinical therapies. But a research team from Mount Sinai in New York has found a way to make higher-quality stem cells, rather than more numerous ones, in a new study.

“This research group believes the answer is not necessarily to produce more of the cells, but make them a higher quality,” said Scott Jones, Vice President, Scientific Affairs at BioBridge Global. “Quality means they exhibit more stem potential and engraft better in the new host.”

Higher-quality hematopoietic stem cells could make a marrow transplant more effective, and potentially allow more transplants from a single donation.

May 13, 2020

harry_bbqFor several years, barbecue wasn’t just a backyard-on-the-Weber event for Tom Parrish, Assistant Director of BBG Facilities and Fleet. 

Parrish and his wife were a team called “Rub This BBQ,” competing in around six professional barbecue competitions a year. He also was founder and pit master for the “Driller’s Delight BBQ Cooking Team,” taking part for eight years in the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo BBQ Cook-Off

“I took a photo, and it didn’t do it justice,” Parrish said of the stock show’s competition, which one year covered a large part of the huge Fiesta Texas parking lot. 

Parrish also was one of the founders of the Westside Chili Association, which for 12 years ran a series of monthly chili cook-offs.