September 16, 2019

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration changed the field of cancer treatment in 2010 when it approved the first immunotherapy for patients with advanced-stage prostate cancer.

Manufactured by Dendreon, PROVENGE (sipuleucel-T) became the first therapeutic cancer vaccine of its kind, taking a patient’s immune cells and programming them to target and attack certain prostate cancer cells.

“Dendreon was ahead of its time when they started,” said Rogelio Zamilpa, Director of Cord Blood with GenCure, a subsidiary of San Antonio-based nonprofit BioBridge Global. “They were one of the pioneers in what is now referred to as cell therapy wherein you take a patient’s cells, reprogram them outside of the body, and then infuse them back into the patient.”

September 9, 2019

Major advances in the use of amniotic membrane are making it a more ideal procedure in the field of ophthalmology for certain eye diseases and injuries.

The story of grafting and bandage methods in eye surgery reconstruction was featured in the August issue of EyeWorld Magazine.

“Amniotic membrane is a popular choice among ophthalmologists for many different types of ocular reconstruction surgeries pertaining to the anterior segment of the eye,” said Jennifer Wehmeyer, Scientist II, Research & Development at BioBridge Global.

Amniotic membrane, or amnion, is the innermost layer of the placenta that forms around the fetus. The amnion is carefully removed from the rest of the placenta, cleaned and sterilized, and then preserved for transplant through freezing or dehydration.

September 2, 2019

Millennials hold the key to an adequate blood supply in the United States, according to a recent survey sponsored by Abbott, which creates products that test more than 60% of the world’s blood supply.

Donors older than 50 have provided the largest percentage of donations for years – in South Texas, they made 37% of donations in 2018 – but many older donors are becoming ineligible to give because of medical conditions.

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, Millennials (those born between 1981-96) soon will overtake the Baby Boomers (born 1946-64) as the largest percentage of the U.S. population. That leaves more of the responsibility for maintaining an adequate blood supply on them.

August 26, 2019

One frequent question we get asked at the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center on a regular basis is “What happens to my donation?”

If you make a whole blood donation – the most common type – your blood is separated into three components: red cells, platelets and plasma. Each are used by doctors for different treatments. You also can donate just platelets or red cells.

August 19, 2019

Amid the historical tensions between Israel and Palestine, blood centers and hospitals have formed an alliance to share blood across borders.

The story of this unique partnership was featured in the August issue of American Society of Hematology.

The cooperation falls under the haunting reality of the acts of violence, terror, and warfare that citizens experience from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Magen David Adom (MDA) manages the blood supply of Israel. MDA conducts lifesaving missions transporting blood to ailing citizens and troops in hospitals across war zones.