January 21, 2019

Proposed new guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration have the potential to alter the way blood centers handle platelets destined for patients.

The draft guidance, “Bacterial Risk Control Strategies for Blood Collections Establishments and Transfusion Services to Enhance the Safety and Availability of Platelets for Transfusion,” would replace a draft guidance issued in March 2016.

The updated guidelines are designed to control the risk of bacterial contamination of room temperature platelets, said Dr. Samantha Gomez Ngamsuntikul, associate medical director at BioBridge Global. Platelets donations that are four or five days old are associated with a higher risk of negative reactions in patients.

January 14, 2019

At least a dozen people were hospitalized in 2019 for infections related to unapproved stem cell therapies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Patients in multiple states were injected with umbilical cord blood stem cells produced by a California company. One patient spent 58 days in the hospital with a bloodstream infection and spinal problems; another was hospitalized for 30 days with an infected knee The New York Times reported.

The CDC report noted that its investigation “highlights the serious potential risks to patients of stem cell therapies administered for unapproved and unproven uses.”

January 7, 2019

John Halloran, like many people in South Texas, began donating blood when he was in high school (in his case, Churchill).

But he didn’t become passionate about being a donor until his nephew was diagnosed with leukemia in 1987. By 1992, he was a regular at South Texas Blood & Tissue Center donor rooms and mobile drives.

“Because of both the need in the community and the history with my nephew, I began donating platelets,” he said. “It’s a journey that has lasted to this day.”

In 2018, Halloran topped 61 gallons in blood donations. And he will be adding to his total in January during National Blood Donor Month, which recognizes the extraordinary efforts of blood donors across the nation and serves as a reminder for others to give.

December 24, 2018

As the year comes to a close, here are the top 10 stories that happened in BioBridge Global and its family of nonprofits that include the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, QualTex Laboratories, GenCure and The Blood and Tissue Center Foundation.

December 17, 2018

The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center makes thousands of deliveries of blood and blood products every year, serving hospitals and clinics in an area larger than many states.

But in some parts of the world, blood deliveries are more of a struggle because of poor roads and difficult terrain.

That’s where a Bay Area startup called Zipline has found a way to deliver blood using drones.

In 2016, the company signed an agreement with the Rwanda government to deliver critically needed blood and medical supplies to rural areas using the unmanned aircraft.

The contract has been expanded to reach Rwanda’s entire population, the company’s CEO told the WIRED25 summit recently, and plans are in the works with the government of Ghana.