April 5, 2016

One of the great misconceptions about donating blood is that diabetics are not eligible. In fact, there are only minor restrictions on blood donations for otherwise healthy people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

The biggest requirement is that your diabetes has to be well-controlled – by insulin, oral medication, and/or by diet and exercise.

You won’t be able to donate if you ever used bovine-derived insulin manufactured in the United Kingdom, a practice discontinued many years ago.

Essentially, if your diabetes is under control, and you didn’t use certain types of insulin that are no longer made, you can donate today.

One source for the confusion is that the rules vary from one country to another. In Canada and the United Kingdom, for example, you can’t donate blood if you are taking insulin.

March 28, 2016

A San Antonio startup company has received financial support for an innovative way to help patients with anemia boost the iron content in their bloodstreams.

Fe3 Medical landed $11 million in funding for an iron-delivery skin patch, the San Antonio Business Journal reported.

Mir Imran, chairman and CEO of Fe3 Medical’s parent company InCube Labs, told the Business Journal’s Scott Bailey that the patch meets a “clear, unmet clinical need as nearly half of the patients suffering from iron-deficiency anemia cannot tolerate oral iron.”

More than 25 million people in the United States, mainly women, suffer from iron-deficiency anemia.

Fe3Medical will conduct phase 1 clinical trials on the patch in the next year.

March 21, 2016

Researchers at two Houston institutions have discovered how lung cancer cells grow and spread without triggering a response from the body’s immune system.

The findings by a team from Rice University and the MD Anderson Cancer Center could lead to new ways to treat aggressive lung cancers by, essentially, pulling the cancer cells out of hiding.

“One of the main new ideas in therapy is to somehow get the immune system to fight against the cancer,” said Herbert Levine, a theoretical physicist at Rice and one of the leaders of the study. “What we want to understand is how the characteristics of the cancer cells either enhance that possibility or preclude it.”

The study shows that some aggressive lung cancer cells produce relatively few proteins known as immunoproteasomes, a major part of the process of signaling the immune system’s T-cells to attack diseased cells.

March 14, 2016

Joining the national Be The Match® registry at any GenCure Marrow Donor Program drive is simple – fill out paperwork, provide a swab of the inside of your cheek and promise to stay in touch.

But what happens if you’re one of the 1 in 540 people who become an actual donor?

According to the Be The Match® website, a donation involves 20 to 30 hours of your time spread over a four- to six-week period. You’ll undergo some health tests, sign additional paperwork, learn some more about the process and then be whisked away to donate.

March 7, 2016

If you’re a serious runner, donating blood can seem counterproductive.

After all, your blood carries oxygen, and as the National Academy of Sports Medicine notes, your body needs lots of oxygen when it’s under the stress of a race of a hard workout. (That burning sensation in your legs at the end of a workout, known as acidosis, is the result of insufficient oxygen.)

But if you’re in the kind of condition required for long-distance running, you’re more than likely among the 38 percent of the population eligible to give blood.

A typical whole blood donation takes about one pint, one-tenth of your total blood volume, and your body starts to work immediately to replace the donation.