October 7, 2015

Even if you’re unable to donate blood, there still is a way for you to be a life-saver for people across South Texas.

How? Coordinate a South Texas Blood & Tissue Center blood drive at your school, church, club or workplace.

First, check to see if we have any drives already scheduled by visiting our Donor Portal search page.

Next, talk to your friends, classmates, fellow members or co-workers about donating blood. You can learn about the process on our website,

Finally, call one of our friendly staff members at 210-249-GIVE or send an email to set up a date and time for your drive. It’s that simple.

September 30, 2015

Spurred by the story of the first umbilical cord blood transplant, a researcher at the University of Kansas has just completed a pilot trial of a way to make the transplants more effective using an established therapy.

Dr. Omar Aljitawi, a member of the Cancer Biology Program at the University of Kansas Cancer Center, heard the presentation in 2008. After some preliminary research, he found that one of the biggest problems with the transplants was “engraftment,” when stem cells in the cord blood make their way into the bone marrow and start making healthy new blood cells.

He found one way to boost engraftment was to increase the oxygen levels in the blood of the recipient. Raising oxygen levels can be done with a widely used process called hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

In hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a patient is placed in a tube where increased air pressure boosts the amount of oxygen the blood can carry.

September 28, 2015

A new technique that slows development of malaria in the bloodstream may give doctors a way to beat even drug-resistant strains of the disease.

A team from Yale University found a way to target the malaria parasite genetically, which would allow the therapy work on any type of the parasite.

“Drug-resistant strains are becoming a very serious problem in places like Southeast Asia,” said Sidney Altman, a molecular biologist and professor at Yale, a senior author of the study and a Nobel Prize winner for his previous work with genetics.

Nearly 2 million people a year are sickened with malaria and 600,000 die from it. Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium and is transmitted through mosquito bites. The parasite multiplies in the liver and then infects red blood cells.

September 23, 2015

Like most executives, John Kirk and Elizabeth Waltman are competitive.

That’s why, moments before his annual competitive blood donation against the chief operating officer of the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC), the chief executive officer of Alamo Federal Credit Union was asking Donor Pavilion staff members for tips.

Kirk, a regular donor who has topped the eight-gallon mark, settled on two ideas in his bid to top Waltman, who won last year’s duel for the fastest donation.

First, as he was passing out boxes of “Alamo Crackers” to staff and other donors, Kirk downed a couple of bottles of water. And then he made sure to keep his arm perfectly still during his donation.

“That one isn’t going to be easy,” said the high-energy executive.

September 2, 2015

Many restaurants and fast food chains are altering their preparation techniques to avoid the use of hydrogenated oils during frying to reduce the amount of trans fat in their products, thanks in part to studies linking trans fats to illness and premature death.

One of the latest studies, in the British Medical Journal, that finds that a higher consumption of trans fat is associated with a 21 percent higher risk of developing heart disease, a 28 percent larger risk of mortality by cardiovascular disease and a 34 percent overall increased risk of mortality.

The study also found that there was no clear link between these health risks and an increased intake of saturated fat.