July 22, 2019

There’s a saying in both the U.S. Army and the blood transfusion community – “It’s a small world.”

It seems that everybody knows everybody, in one way or another. John Barry, who is the Senior Manager, Hospital Relations & Distribution for South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, experienced two of those small worlds recently.

Barry was on a panel at the National Whole Blood Summit, based on his experience with the Brothers in Arms program as well as a similar system he helped implement with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan in 2012.

“I passed a guy in the hallway between sessions at the summit, and at first we didn’t recognize each other,” he said. “And then we stopped and started talking.”

July 15, 2019

The idea of using enzymes to turn a common blood type into a rarer one has been around since 1982.

But a recent paper published in the journal Nature Microbiology has shown progress in converting type A-negative blood to the relatively rare O- negative using enzymes from a human gut bacteria.

“This is a very exciting discovery,” said Scott Jones, Vice President, Scientific Affairs at BioBridge Global. “If it works out as planned, this discovery could change blood banking and allow blood centers to have more type O blood on the shelves by converting type A blood to type O.”

A, B and AB blood types are defined by the presence of molecules on the surface of red blood cells, while type O is defined as not having either the A or B molecule.

July 8, 2019

A federal court has agreed with the Food and Drug Administration that a Florida clinic adulterated and misbranded a stem cell drug product made from a patient’s fat tissue.

The summary judgment against US Stem Cell Clinic, US Stem Cell and the company’s chief medical officer affirms the FDA’s regenerative medicine policy and its risk-based approach to the enforcement of cell-based products. US Stem Cell has agreed for now to stop producing and administering treatments from adipose tissue.

The FDA also has sought a permanent injunction against a California-based company, seeking to stop it from selling unapproved cellular therapy products.

July 1, 2019

Women who donate blood regularly showed a reduction in risk factors for heart disease, a recent Dutch study showed in preliminary results.

No difference was noted for men. The results were published in the journal Blood.

The heart health benefit becomes another positive factor for making donating a habit.

“Doing something good like giving blood warms your heart emotionally, and now a study shows it may help your heart physically, too,” said Dr. Samantha Gomez Ngamsuntikul, Associate Medical Director at BioBridge Global.

Researchers in The Netherlands analyzed records from 159,934 whole blood donors who had been donating for at least 10 years. Data for donations and death from heart disease were acquired from Dutch hospitals and the country’s national personal records database.

June 24, 2019

When the South Texas Regional Blood Bank moved from San Pedro Avenue to the old YWCA building in downtown San Antonio in 1984, the space for blood collections was limited, to say the least.

“We had four chairs and one TV,” recalled Irma Villarreal, who helped with the move five years after she started with the organization. “The machines were so loud we had to turn up the TV full blast. And then people would get upset because you could hear that TV all over the building.”

Other things have changed since Villarreal started with the organization as an HLA typing expert, including her job description. Currently, she is Director, BioBridge Global Quality & Compliance.

“Where do you start?” she replied when asked about all her job titles.